The Author

A mix of science, research and training provides Tiffin with the background to write a book that goes beyond the stories to look at the “why” behind dog heroism.

Author Tiffin Shewmake and Blitz. Author Tiffin Shewmake and Blitz.

Blitz (1994 – 2007) — At the Rainbow Bridge

Lifetime Interest in Animals

I have had a strong relationship with animals throughout my life, and have owned and trained a variety of dogs and horses since childhood.

Scientific Background

My professional career has focused on science and the environment. I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Syracuse University and past work includes basic laboratory research on the arachidonic acid cascade in white blood cells, and research at the Federal Bureau of Investigation on ABO typing in saliva. My current career in environmental consulting has included work on Superfund, wastewater treatment, and compliance and enforcement with environmental laws. I have worked extensively with databases and earned a Masters of Science in Information Systems from George Mason University.

Why I Wrote The Book

I am often asked why I wrote Canine Courage. The truth is – I wanted to read it. One day I was at the Georgetown Public Library in Washington, D.C. looking at dog books and thought that a book on dog heroes would be good. I pictured a real life Call of the Wild. I didn’t find the book I was looking for that day, and was unsuccessful at other libraries and bookstores. I soon realized that if I wanted to read a dog hero book, I would have to write it myself.

Canine Courage started out as a collection of dog hero stories. However, during my research, I realized that the real story is the relationship between dogs and people, which is the basis for heroic dog behavior. The domestic dog is the corporate protégé who bets his future on his boss’ success, and uses sacrifice to gain the boss’ help. Heroism is a part of the dog’s overall survival strategy of saving people to save themselves. So the book become much more than stories as I looked at the dog’s natural history, behavior and relationship with people to help understand the nature of canine heroism.

I have enjoyed writing Canine Courage. The stories are every bit as moving as I had hoped when I first searched for a book on dog heroes. As I read at the Library of Congress, I often had to raise my book to hide my tears. What I had not expected, was how this book would give me a better understanding of my dog, and why dogs and people are so close. I’m glad to give readers the opportunity for the same experience. This book supports what many dog lovers already know about the special place that dogs have in our hearts.

Picture of a dog pawprint.

Tiffin Shewmake


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