I have been studying the role of dogs during the Great War for the past few years and when I was asked to consider writing a book on dogs throughout history it seemed like a fantastic project to be part of.
Dogs have been such an important part of Britain from performing working roles, to friendship and companionship. It seems that we have been a nation of animal lovers for a long time and I’m sure that will continue in the future.
What I enjoyed the most was being surprised. I learned so much about periods of history I thought I already knew. It was a challenge to find a dog during some of these important periods, but those that have been included in the book are my favourites.
I already had a few ideas from my previous research, but it was a fantastic topic to discuss with people and every time I mentioned it to a friend or colleague they would suggest new dogs to include.
Sometimes it was difficult to find definitive evidence for some of the stories. However, I think with a book such as this it’s as much bringing legends and stories to the fore for discussion and hopefully bringing a different perspective to some well-known stories.
I was most surprised by how many dogs’ stories can be found throughout history when you look for them. It really does feel likes dog can be found in every key historical point in history.
There are so many which have captured my interest. I can't choose one in particular as there are so many – including those who have saved us, comforted us and who continue to protect us and share their lives with us.
My favourite native breed is the Border Collie. I think they are wonderfully friendly and can become a key part of a family but are also fantastically clever.
I would like to spend a day in the park with Chance the firehouse dog as I think he would have plenty of energy and enjoy running around and meeting all those other dogs. Although I hope he wouldn't run off if a fire engine went past!