Early in the morning when the sky’s still dark
And no lively ray has yet pierced the night,
When all are sleeping and all is still,
When no wind blows and no bird sings,
So early in the morning –
The soldier wakes up.
He’ll say a prayer for family and friends,
For the day to come and the day that went,
For those who fought and those who fell,
And for his best friend –
Early in the morning in a quiet yard,
Under the cover of stars and the silence above,
Early in the morning they share a meal,
A hug, a game, a kiss, a lick.
For a new day’s ahead,
One more in the never-ending war.
Dog and soldier sit side by side
And watch the miracle that’s each sunrise.
And share a quiet moment too-
Like everything else, it is shared in two.
Friends, companions, brothers in arms;
The deployed soldier and his military dog.
Early in the morning as the sun comes up
And heat and war engulfs the land,
A man and his dog walk side by side
And know that none of them is all alone.
The real world is far, a long ago dream.
Here, life has no price, but the price you’ve set.
And in this land where rules are upside down,
So far away from the world where they both saw the light,
The bond and the love that unites dog and man
Is stronger than a war, precious as life itself.
‘The Soldier and his Dog’ is a poem I wrote while researching for Silent Heroes. The history of military working dogs, MWDs, is fascinating and heartbreaking, as is the life of US soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and fighting the war there. It later led to Silent Heroes, When Love and Value Are Worth Fighting for.soldier dog silent heroes