PRIVATE PUP is based on the true story of Teddie, a terrier puppy given to a Captain in the British Army's Labour Corps. She becomes his constant companion during the last stages of the First World War, as he shepherds his company of misfits and invalids – digging trenches and graves, and laying railway lines, while under constant threat of attack from enemy artillery, snipers and bombers.
When an unseen hand slips the puppy into Captain Henry Pollard's quarters with the words, 'A souvenir for you, sir,' he has no conception of how it will change his life. Depressed and ashamed by the break-up of his marriage, Pollard joined up in his mid-40s, with a half-conscious intention of sacrificing his life for his country, rather than suffering the social stigma of a divorce.
Affectionate and playful, the little dog gives him new hope in life. Her antics win over his men, who dub her Private Pup as she marches and digs holes alongside them. Wherever Pollard goes in France, from the frontline to the field hospitals and artillery emplacements, the puppy wins him friends among everyone he meets.
Her only enemy, it seems, is the company's commanding officer, Major Andrew Frome. After suffering a head injury in a bombing raid, the Major's erratic moods and heavy drinking worsen, and he stages a vendetta against the Captain and his little dog. When the war ends, and Pollard attempts to smuggle Teddie back to England with him, Frome denounces him on the dockside.
Forced by rabies regulations to leave Teddie in France, Pollard confronts a drunken Frome on board the troopship home. In the fight that ensues, Pollard shoves his commanding officer overboard.
Back in Britain, an Army inquiry clears Pollard of suspected murder but, by the time he can return to France, his little dog has disappeared. After months of searching, he tracks her down at the house of a retired Colonel and tells his story. Pollard is reunited with the dog that gave him a reason to live, and together they can embark on a new life.
Christopher has been a professional journalist since 1983: in 1998 he joined the Observer, moving to the Daily Mail in 2012. For the past five years he has been the Mail's television critic, with a column from Monday to Friday reviewing the previous night's TV. He also writes general features for the main body of the paper, and wildlife features for the Mail's Saturday magazine, Weekend. His writing is regularly syndicated on the MailOnline website, which has a combined British readership of 30 million.
Christopher has also written more than a dozen books, several of them as a ghostwriter....
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