Man's Best Friend by Luke Warburton with Simon Bouda

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend

It is heard on the news that a policeman has been shot and is in a critical condition.  But that’s it!   No follow up; the story behind the story.  There should be a special edition of the news once a month letting us know what has happened.   Thankfully Luke Warburton has given the public just that; an account of his life before and after he was seriously injured defending a doctor, whose life was being threatened by a drug crazed individual that she was attending in the emergency ward. 

Man’s Best Friend  provides an inspiring message for young and old alike, gives readers inside information regarding an institution that protects us, is an example of a life well lived, and provides understanding of another species. 

Luke Warburton’s life is a classic example of the power of being a decent bloke.  Not doing that well at school, he left early without completing his leaving certificate and worked in a fast food chain.  But his ambition was to be a policeman.  So that goal was written and framed on his bedroom wall. 

Ah, the power of a visible goal.  

Luke worked hard and got into the police force!   His next goal was to be accepted into the dog squad.   And apparently that is not so easy; there were hundreds of applicants and only ten places on offer.  Again, determination and hard work got him where he wanted to be.  Luke passed the training proudly becoming member of the Dog Squad.  It is an inspiring and often amusing read. 

But that’s just the beginning of the story.  

Luke worked with a few amazing dogs (aren’t they all?) before being matched with Chuck, a beautiful black German Shepherd, with the heart of a lion. Together they bravely served the community.   Luke and Chuck were part of the team that eventually apprehended the infamous Malcolm Naden.  And Naden has the scars to prove that he has met Chuck!  Again, the account the public get from news bulletins does not begin to tell the hardship the police endured in order to capture this dangerous man.   There were days and days of suffering in extreme heat, dealing with leeches and avoiding Red Belly Black Snakes.  Luke tells this most gripping story well.  In fact, I read this book in one day and one night – it’s one of those ‘can’t-put-down’ books. 

But, sadly, came the day that changed Luke’s life when he was, almost fatally, shot.  Thankfully the incident occurred in a hospital or Luke would not be writing Man’s Best Friend.   It is a story that should be read as Luke tells it, not rehashed in a review.  All I will say is that I feel so grateful that there are men like Luke protecting us all. 

His recovery took time and so much of his famous determination, during which he had to be separated from Chuck.   There are sad moments, very sad moments (have tissues to the ready).  Of course, he suffered from PTSD after such a traumatic event and it is here that the book becomes valuable to anyone who needs help with trauma. It is a helpful report of recovery, both mental and physical.  Luke gives an honest, readable account of his long recuperation. His message – Get Help!  Don’t be ashamed. 

Luke ends by saying that being in the police force is a wonderful career; he has loved the camaraderie, being part of an institution that is so important to society.  

There are books that just have to be read.   Man’s Best Friend is one of those books.

Man’s Best Friend:  The inspiring true story of Sergeant Luke Warburton, his police dog Chuck and the crime-busting Dog Unit

By Luke Warburton with Simon Bouda

(2019)

Hachette Australia

Paperback                  9780733641817        rrp:      $32.99

e-Book                        9780733641824        RRRP:   $14.99

Pp. 260

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