How clever these creatures, able to distinguish between the sound of planes that unleash havoc and so should be hidden from, and those that simply fly over to unleash havoc elsewhere.

‘I don’t know … Take dogs, for example – they can tell different planes apart.  When we were stationed in the village, there was a mongrel called Kerzon.  When our ILs flew over, he just lay there without even raising his head.  But as soon as he heard the whine of Junkers, he went straight to his hiding-place.  He never once made a mistake.’

This is from Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman, for me one of the greatest novels of the 20th century and of Russian literature.  Please have a look at our ‘bestellar’ review, including a mosaic of quotations.

And for more canine quotes, see our page dedicated to dogs. 

Source: Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman; trans. Robert Chandler (New York: New York Review Books, 2006 (1985)), p. 249

Photo credit: Patrick Hendry at


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