Man’s best friend, no matter what
A local veteran pens his first book about a courageous dog
by Lauren Dowdle, content director, Bham Family magazine
Families can enjoy a book that will not only leave them smiling, but will also help support local veterans when they read James Jernigan’s The Little Brown Hero Dog.
Jernigan currently lives in Fultondale with his wife and two Boykin spaniels, Bella and Beaudreaux. “They’re loyal, loving, and just want to be right beside you,” he says.
But it was the first dog he knew named Beaudreaux that inspired his book, The Little Brown Hero Dog, which is part fact and fiction.
His beautifully crafted picture book shares the story of Jernigan’s childhood, why he enlisted in the Air Force during Vietnam, and how friends of his in Vietnam met a little brown dog at their base camp. The pup was a Boykin spaniel who had gotten lost from an officer, and the soldiers decided to take him in and name him Beaudreaux.
This little brown dog wasn’t only fun to have around, but he also alerted them to trouble when outside forces planned to overrun their camp. Beaudreaux was wounded during the attack and later awarded the purple heart and a medal for valor and bravery by their commanding officer.
The dog was allowed to come home to the states after his service. About a year later, Beaudreaux was invited to Washington, DC, and awarded the Medal of Honor by the president. Those are only a few of the stories recounted in his book.
After Jernigan let his nieces read it, one called crying, telling him he should make a movie out of the story. So, Jernigan began looking for a publisher, and now his book is printed and available for everyone to read.
“The book shows loyalty, courage, and the love for animals,” Jernigan says. “It will give you a good, heartwarming feeling.”
The book’s impact doesn’t stop after someone finishes reading. It also helps veterans and their families, with all of the book’s proceeds going to veterans. Jernigan donates to different veteran groups, as well as veteran families in need. His last check went to a woman raising her five grandchildren after her daughter, who served in the military, died.
“I encourage everyone to get it, especially in these times of staying home, to read to their kids. It goes to a good cause,” he says. “The book is also dedicated to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice — their lives — so we have the freedom that is so dear to us all.”