Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fido and Friend in Five: Sam Angus and Sundae!

Sam Angus
One day several years ago, Sam Angus was stuck in traffic, heavily pregnant, on a blisteringly hot day in London. Trying to distract herself from her misery, she turned on the radio and stumbled upon a program that would change her life. The report was about the animals--mostly dogs and horses--who'd sacrificed their lives during World War I. The program was airing around the time that a memorial to these valiant beings was erected on Park Lane. As it happened, the road Sam was stuck in traffic on was Park Lane. She could see the memorial through her car window!

As she sat in her car, spellbound, Sam learned that dogs in WWI served as sentinels, scouts, sentries, ambulance and messenger dogs. She also learned there had been at least 7,000 dogs killed in action during WWI. She heard numerous stories that hot afternoon of the almost miraculous deeds performed by these four-footed heroes, but it was the story of Jack, a mixed-breed messenger dog, that inspired her to write her debut, middle-grade novel, Soldier Dog. 
WWI Messenger Dogs

Soldier Dog is the story of 14-year-old Stanley and his bond with a messenger dog named Bones. Trapped in a troubled home, Stanley runs away and enlists in the British army to try and find his older brother Tom. There, because of his experience with dogs, he's assigned to a unit using messenger dogs. That's when he's assigned to Bones, and later, to Pistol, in France. It is here that Stanley's dog must cross no-man's land alone, under heavy fire, to return to his side. Only complete loyalty and love will pull the dog through a firestorm of battle, back to Stanley's side. Reviewers have called  Soldier Dog War Horse meets Lassie Come-Home. Quite a compliment! Soldier Dog is also on many award lists across The Pond: the Carnegie Prize, the Redbridge Award and the Branford Boase Award, the Hawick Children's Book Award, the North East Children's Book Award, and the Warwickshire Teen Book Award. Just this April, it was released in this country.

Sundae's pack
Sam Angus was born in Italy, grew up in France and Spain and now divides her time between Exmoor and London. She has a a lively life with her husband, five children, horses, rabbits and Sundae the dog. Let's meet them in today's Fido and Friend in Five!

Chillin' on double-d. bus!
1. How did you and Sundae find each other?  My husband and daughter found Sundae as a tiny puppy and brought him home to me, so small that he stepped onto the saucer when I lifted up my coffee cup and fell asleep there. He was as white, fluffy, ridiculous, irresistible and sweet as an ice cream sundae.

2. What makes Sundae's tail wag?  A walk. Dinner. Other dogs. a football. Snow.

3.  What's your all-time favorite dog story?  Soldier Dog and
Lassie Come-Home.

Sundae and friends
4. If Sundae could change just one thing about you, what would that be?  He would like me never to sit down at my desk or do any work, so I would spend all day in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with him. Then at night, he would turn me into someone who likes dogs on their beds.

Best friends
5. In five words, tell us what Sundae means to you:  Love. Loyalty. Company. Protection. Playfulness.

Many thanks to Sam and Sundae for visiting with us today on Fido and Friend in Five! Be sure to check out Sam's website to find out a lot more about the hero dogs of WWI. You'll be amazed, and maybe even inspired!

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