[Free Audiobooks] From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named LavaAuthor Jay Kopelman – Circuitwiringdiagram.co

When Marines enter an abandoned house in Fallujah, Iraq, and hear a suspicious noise, they clench their weapons, edge around the corner, and prepare to open fire What they find during the US led attack on the most dangerous city on Earth, however, is not an insurgent bent on revenge, but a tiny puppy left behind when most of the city’s population fled before the bombing Despite military law that forbids the keeping of pets, the Marines deflea the pup with kerosene, deworm him with chewing tobacco, and fill him up on Meals Ready to EatThus begins the dramatic rescue attempt of a dog named Lava and Lava’s rescue of at least one Marine, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman, from the emotional ravages of warFrom hardened Marines to wartime journalists to endangered Iraqi citizens, From Baghdad, With Love tells an unforgettable true story of an unlikely band of heroes who learn unexpected lessons about life, death, and war from a mangy little flearidden refugee


10 thoughts on “From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava

  1. Brenda Brenda says:

    When the group of Marines discovered the abandoned puppy during a mission in Fallujah, Iraq, they named the 5-week-old pup Lava – against regulations and every rule in the book, they adopted him; and every one of them fell in love with the adorable scrap of mischief.

    Jay Kopelman was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps – tough, strong and deeply into the Marine brotherhood, nevertheless, he was damned if he was going to let anyone shoot his puppy! The rescue attempt by Jay and his fellow marines suddenly took on a life of its own – the collusion of people from the US including journalists and ex-Marines, as well as people from Iraq would have an unforgettable impact on Jay Kopelman...

    From Baghdad, With Love is a wonderful, true story by Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman; where the ravages of war were broken and lifted by the love of one small puppy. It’s heartwarming to read Lava’s story, and I enjoyed From Baghdad, With Love very much. Recommended.


  2. Buggy Buggy says:

    Opening line:I don't remember exactly when I got to the house that served as our command post in the northwest sector of Fallujah, and I don't remember exactly how I got there.

    This was a surprisingly great read that held me captivated from beginning to end and I've been recommending it like crazy to all my friends. FROM BAGHDAD WITH LOVE tells the heartwarming and somewhat heartbreaking story of a starving abandoned puppy named Lava and the hardened marine who along with wartime journalists, Iraqi citizens and many, many others that saved him from certain death on the bombed out streets of Iraq and eventually got him onto US soil.

    Well written and containing 8 pages of photographs there is no secret to Lava's outcome but this is still an utterly fascinating story. Lava is initially discovered by the Third Marines unit known as The Lava Dogs when they storm an abandoned house in Fallujah Iraq and almost shoot him. Then not knowing what to do with the 5 week old puppy and forbidden by military law to keep pets the marines begin feeding and caring for the dog as they set up a command center in the abandoned house. Lava's presence allows the soldiers a pass from reality, a small piece of sweetness and normalcy in their daily hell and something else to think about other than getting killed. Has anybody fed the dog today? There are some touching scenes as we witness these big tough military men falling apart, talking in baby talk and playing with the puppy as he pees on their boots and destroys their belongings and they think he's cute.

    Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman is eventually adopted by Lava who chooses his boots to sleep in. Subsequently several scenes play out like a movie as Lava is hidden and moved between red and green military zones and finally crated as they attempt to drive him across the Jordanian border. The last few chapters are really exciting, and even though you know the outcome you will find yourself wondering, how exactly are they going to pull this off?

    I learned a surprising amount about the war in Iraq reading this book and really got a feel for what the soldiers go through on a daily basis living in a war zone. Just how hard it must be to maintain your sanity amidst all the chaos and death. The ending is WOW and had me close to tears, as it's Lava who ultimately saves one marine from the emotional ravages of war. This is a book that I can highly recommend, especially if you're a dog lover in addition you'll get to learn a little something about a war that most of us barely notice anymore when the images and numbers flash past on our TV screens.


  3. James James says:

    This is a beautiful story about people in bleak and soul-poisoning situations trying to find something life-affirming that will help them hold up and keep going. People who are surrounded by war, grinding poverty, disasters, and personal tragedies all have these needs in common - like the rest of humanity, just more so.

    This is a memoir by a Marine, then-Major Jay Kopelman, of how his unit adopted an abandoned puppy they came across in the middle of the battle of Falujah, one of the worst in terms of brutal house-by-house and room-by-room fighting through a whole city since Hue during Tet 1968 and Stalingrad in World War II. They took the puppy in because having him around made them feel good, and named him Lava because their unit's nickname was 'Lava Dogs.' They knew they were violating a policy the military takes pretty seriously, banning units adopting animals other than military working dogs, and the author in particular, as the highest-ranking officer involved, knew he was risking his career for this dog. He did, though, up to and including coordinating a complex plan to smuggle Lava back the States and adopt him there when he came back himself.

    It's well written, often hilarious, but not eliding over the horror and brutality of the Iraq war. As a still-serving senior officer, now-Lieutenant Colonel Kopelman is surprisingly frank and cynical about the politics behind the war, the non-existent WMDs, and the corruption and incompetence of the Coalition Provisional Authority and often the Iraqi military his unit was trying to train. It also captures beautifully the subculture of the Marine Corps with all its irreverence, bluntness, gallows humor, and frequently surreal nature. When I finished reading it, I was crying. My wife asked why. I told her it was partly because I love animals and this one reminded me of a dog I loved and lost to cancer many years ago now, and partly because it brought home to me how much I still miss the Marine Corps (I retired 16 years ago and have had a full and rewarding life since, but it will always be where I grew up and a second family to me.)

    If you like animals, military people, moving memoirs, weird humor, or all of the above, read this book.


  4. Donna Donna says:

    The parts about the dog rescue were sweet. This little dog was adopted and taken care of by American soldiers when they discovered he had been abandoned in a building. He looks like such a cutie. The account given about the soldier, Kopelman, was not so sweet. He was a little on the socially awkward side. But I appreciated his love for his dog and how he managed to bring him home.


  5. Darcy Darcy says:

    Like the everyone around Lava I found myself sucked into him. I get how the puppy won over the hard Marine, how the dog helped everyone keep a little sane and a sense of home when doing a horrible job. I was glad to see this one have a happy ending.


  6. Dara S. Dara S. says:

    It was a heartwarming dog story, written by a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines. Since this takes place in Iraq during the war, it is not all sweetness.


  7. Carol Storm Carol Storm says:

    Powerful story of Marines in combat and the dog they rescue from certain death.


  8. Connie Faull Connie Faull says:

    I give this book 4 stars. Although the military brass and the hordes of brains and suits at the Pentagon don’t like military members in combat to adopt animals ,they say it’s against regulations for “health reasons,” actually it’s because they don’t want them to feel normal human compassion when their jobs require them to kill the enemy. You let a little compassion slip in and what might happen when you’re in the field and instead of acting on your training you start to think.

    But what the Pentagon cronies, most of whom have never seen combat, don’t take into consideration is the stress relief and mental health that animals provide to service members while they are deployed in a combat zone. Animals give them something to take care of, a companion that doesn’t judge them, but only wants to receive and give love and companionship.

    The story is funny at times, like when Lt. Col. Kopelman describes the way the Marine platoon reacts to Lava:

    “Still, the best part is how these Marines, these elite, these well-oiled machines of war who in theory can kill another human being in a hundred unique ways, become mere mortals in the presence of a tiny mammal. I’m shocked to hear a weird, misty tone in my fellow Marines’ voices, a weird, misty look in their eyes, and weird, misty words that end in ee.

    ‘You had yuckee little buggees all over you when we found you, huh? Now you’re a brave little toughee. Are you our brave little toughee? You’re a brave, little toughee, yessiree.’”

    And even touching when he describes the moment one of the Marines who has been watching over Lava while he (Kopelman) was sent to the Syrian border, has to hand over Lava to Anne Garrells, the NPR reporter who agreed to watch out for Lava since the military started enforcing the regulation banning “pets” in war zones and began killing cats and dogs found on bases:

    “When they finally connect, Matt hands Lava over to Anne. It’s kind of an ordeal for him, because, you know, he’s a Marine standing in front of a bunch of other Marines who don’t want to see one of their own all wimped out over a puppy, only they’re all a little wimped out over the puppy, and Anne, who doesn’t want to be seen in the company of wimpy Marines, grabs Lava and leaves as fast as she can.”

    This story is mostly about Lava and Lt. Col. Kopelman’s relationship and his frantic actions to try to get Lava back to the states, he also tells some important stories about what it was like to be in Iraq and just what these people we continue to call the insurgency were capable of, like the story below which describes how the insurgents used a boy with Down Syndrome as a suicide bomber instead of using animals which they had been doing, but couldn’t control well enough:

    “So they reverted to something even better-people like nineteen-year-old Amar, who had Down Syndrome. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Amar’s parents went out to vote and then went to a relative’s house for a celebratory party. While they were gone, insurgents kidnapped Amar, strapped a bomb to him, and told him to walk toward a polling site”

    “Amar’s parents heard the blast from their party, and when word spread that a “mongoli” was the bomber, they raced home to find Amar gone. Amar’s cousin told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘they got neighbors to search and one of them identified Amar’s head where it lay on the pavement.’”

    He also discusses how inept the US government was with money and how there was a ridiculous amount of fraud, waste & abuse that went on over there. “Later, former senior adviser to the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority would say that Iraq was a ‘free fraud zone’ as a result of the US government’s refusal to prosecute contractors and companies accused of corruption.”

    This was a very good book, a short, quick read. I recommend this if you are an animal lover or even if you aren’t, the book offers other informative information about what it was like to be a Marine in Fallujah in 2005.


  9. Rachel Rachel says:

    I read the first half of this a month ago and then, what with one thing and another, couldn't seem to get back to it. I was thinking this meant that it wasn't terribly compelling, but earlier today when I was sitting in a waiting room with nothing to do finally finish reading it, I had to try not to cry in great big heaving sobs, even though it would have given all the people who forgot to bring a book something to look at.

    Jay Kopelman was a Marine colonel on active duty in Iraq in 2004 when his battalion, known as the Lava Dogs, were looking for insurgents in an abandoned house in Fallujah, and instead found a mangy little puppy that they took back to their compound. They named him Lava, fed him a combination of MREs and bits of beef jerky, and dewormed him with chewing tobacco. The dog gravitated toward Kopelman, who quickly assumed ownership of him, despite military regulations banning pets and in some cases requiring that stray animals be killed. Over the next six months, Kopelman, with the help of his fellow Marines and various civilians, both American and Iraqi, battled military red tape, Iraqi law, and the constant danger that accompanies just trying to move from place to place in a war zone to get Lava out of Iraq and into the United States, where Kopelman would soon be stationed. The details of trying to arrange for Lava's evacuation are interspersed with and inseparable from the day-to-day realities of war, which are frustrating and harrowing in equal measure.

    Although the story was covered extensively in the media as a happy and heartwarming story of A Boy and His Dog, the real story was darker:

    Maybe the little shit is dead already. Or maybe they didn't make it through and he's now lost on the streets of Baghdad wondering where everybody went. I pray that if Lava doesn't make it through, he'll find a body somewhere in Baghdad to keep him alive for just one more day.

    Which brings me to the last part of my confession: I want Lava to stay alive. No matter how bad things get, it's still better to be alive. I want to know he's breathing and leaping after dust balls and chasing imaginary enemies in his sleep. I want him to be alive, because then there's still hope that he'll make it here to California and get to be an American dog who runs on the beach and chases the mailman instead of strangers with guns. I want him to be alive almost more than anything I can think of, which feels like a confession, because before Lava, I was a marine who wasn't required to cross any lines with ALIVE on one side and DEAD on the other. I carried a rucksack full of coupons redeemable towards absolution. Now, after meeting Lava and letting fear in, I feel distantly related to a serial killer.

    What comes through in Kopelman and co-author Melissa Roth's account is that as much as the effort to save Lava was just that, it was also about saving Kopelman himself. The tone of the writing is conversational and there's a lot of profanity, so this isn't a book you're going to want to read to your kids just because it has a nice doggie on the cover. This is a fast read, but sometimes a gruesome one, and I won't spoil the ending (even though I think it's on the book jacket, so not really a spoiler), but I will say that Lava doesn't come to a bad end. Really, it's just an odd little story that shows people at their best and at their worst; all in all, an excellent book.




  10. Laura Laura says:

    This book was incredibly heart wrenching, hopeful, and disturbing.

    What the military has done to our soldiers to prevent them from feeling compassion for even animals is disgusting. I understand the need to keep soldiers able to kill other people for the sake of a country's safety and security, but to actively kill animals that some servicepeople have grown attached to is just beyond awful.

    Even though this story has a happy ending for Lava the puppy found in Fallujah, Iraq, the author, a Lt. Col. Marine describes in detail the heartbreaking consequences of other pets military personnel have tried to save.

    This is a worthwhile read (and gives you hope that there are some good people out there) but avoid it if you think this is an entirely happy-go-lucky story. It's not. It worked out for one dog, for which I am so happy, but all I can think about is all the other animals and people stuck in horrible places that have no option or escape.

    It was nice to read that NPR's Anne Garrels and other NPR staff helped get Lava over to the US. I have listened to NPR for years and it was nice to know that they are, once again, a cut above the other networks.