The Dog Who Could Fly

  • by Damien Lewis
  • Narrated by Derek Perkins
  • 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An instant hit in the UK, this is the true account of a German shepherd who was adopted by the Royal Air Force during World War II, joined in flight missions, and survived everything from crash-landings to parachute bailouts - ultimately saving the life of his owner and dearest friend. In the winter of 1939 in the cold snow of no-man's-land, two loners met and began an extraordinary journey that would turn them into lifelong friends. One was an orphaned puppy, abandoned by his owners as they fled Nazi forces. The other was a different kind of lost soul - a Czech airman bound for the Royal Air Force and the country that he would come to call home.
Airman Robert Bozdech stumbled across the tiny German shepherd - whom he named Ant - after being shot down on a daring mission over enemy lines. Unable to desert his charge, Robert hid Ant inside his jacket as he escaped. In the months that followed, the pair would save each other's lives countless times as they flew together with Bomber Command. And though Ant was eventually grounded due to injury, he refused to abandon his duty, waiting patiently beside the runway for his master's return from every sortie, and refusing food and sleep until they were reunited. By the end of the war Robert and Ant had become British war heroes, and Ant was justly awarded the Dickin Medal, the "Animal VC".


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Heartwarming and True (mostly)

Superb narration by Derek Perkins. A five-star performance! The narration improved on the story, I believe, which is saying something. His voice is easy on the ears and distinctly different for dog and man.

This biographical account is based on personal diaries, BBC footage and reports, and military documents.

The "story" begins in France late in 1939, when native Czech Airman (bomber) Robert Bozdech is shot down in France, over enemy lines. Hiding out with his wounded pilot in an abandoned farmhouse, he discovers a starving newborn German Shepherd, whom he names Ant / Antis. Unable to abandon the puppy to certain death, he hides Ant inside his jacket and crawls through thick snow across "no man's land" -- bombs dropping from both sides, narrowly missing Robert, Ant, and his pilot Pierre. Within fewer than 24 hours, the young warrior pup is already defending Robert and Pierre.

In the months and years that followed Antis would save lives several times. This decorated dog rescued civilians buried under rubble in shell-shocked, battle-worn Britain, alerted men and women of incoming attacks at various Royal Air Force bases, and flew alongside his best friend in Wellington fighter planes.

This account focuses more on the tight bond between dog and man, less on the war itself. Still, there are some interesting war nuggets: Hitler's Czech invasion, Czech airmen joining the French Air Force to fight Nazis, France falling to Hitler, French and Czech soldiers fleeing to England to join the RAF and continue to fight Nazis, the bombing of Britain (so much bombing!), various bomber planes (Wellingtons, Liberators, etc.), and the place of dogs in the military during war (most pets were not allowed during war, so this story is unusual).

Various secondary characters added much to my enjoyment of the story.

The quality of the writing is good, not great. The story felt heartwarming. I chuckled several times, and held my breath with worry a few times, too. The pace flowed quickly. I learned something about the war from this unlikely perspective.

However, some overused phrases (e.g., "he looked deeply into his dog's eyes") cost the book one star, along with the rushed ending. I wanted to know more about Robert's wife and son in Communist Czechoslovakia, and more about his postwar life in England.
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- Skipper

4 ½ stars. Audiobook needs a pdf file for pictures

Wow. Wonderful. Fantastic Story. True story about a dog and his loyalty and love with his owner.

I was so captivated. Could not stop reading. A pilot Robert was shot down by the Germans in 1939. There he met abandoned puppy Antis who would die if not rescued. Robert crawled for hours to safety with the puppy in his shirt. This is one of those truth is stranger than fiction stories. Amazing things happen. It’s nonfiction but embellished with assumed/fictionalized dialogue. I liked the way that was done. It made it more enjoyable.

The story is about the dog Antis from 1939 until Hitler surrendered in 1945. The epilogue states that Antis did some heroic things after the war during Robert’s travel from Communist occupied Czechoslovakia to Britain. That was one sentence. I wish the author wrote more about that.

I’ve heard and read about psychic events here and there. I want to believe those things exist. And this book reinforces my belief. In one episode Robert is on a plane. Antis is at the base. At 1 am Robert is wounded. At that exact moment Antis began howling and grieving in a way he had not done before.

Antis died after a normal life span for a dog of fourteen years. Robert lived after that without Antis. At the end of the book I had a crying session. Antis lived a full life, but I still grieved.

There are pictures in the physical book. I wish the author provided a downloadable pdf file for audiobook buyers.

Derek Perkins did an excellent job.

Genres: nonfiction, dog nonfiction.
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- Jane

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-10-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio