===About the Book=== Firecracker – Cracker for short – leads a pampered life as the beloved pet of a young boy. But the German Shepherd's life changes when the boy's father loses his job, and the family is forced to move to an apartment that doesn't allow dogs. The boy's parents give Cracker to the U.S. Army to become a scout dog for the Vietnam War. Scout dogs sniffed out bombs, booby traps, weapons caches, and enemy troops for the Army. Meanwhile Rick Hanski, just seventeen years old, is supposed to be in training to take over his father's hardware store in a small town in Wisconsin. Instead, Rick announces one night after dinner that he would like to join the Army. After much deliberation – and some protests – Rick's father agrees to let Rick join up. Rick becomes a dog handler assigned to Cracker. The two don't get along at first, but they must learn to work together if they're going to survive in the tough jungles of Vietnam. Learning to survive teaches both of them a lot about themselves in this action-packed historical novel of friendship and determination.