Every rescue dog owner know that their lovable pets rescue back and forward. This new book by rescue advocate and author Susannah Charleson (Scent of the Missing) describes her laudable work training these abandoned creatures to become service animals for the blind, disabled, and traumatized. Her graceful writing and powers of observation make The Possibility Dogs one of the best books ever written on these heroic animals and their devoted friends. Editor's recommendation.
The Possibility Dogs: What I Learned from Second-Chance Rescues About Service, Hope, and Healingby Susannah Charleson
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“Reading The Possibility Dogs is like taking an amazing literary journey with a dear friend by your side. The characters you meet will enchant you, but the storyteller will capture your heart. If you love dogs, this is a can’t-miss book written by a kindred spirit.” —Jennifer Arnold, author of Through a Dog’s Eyes and In a Dog’s Heart
After a grisly search-and-rescue operation led to troubling consequences for author Susannah Charleson, she found that her relationship with Puzzle, her search dog, made a surprising contribution to her own healing. Inspired by that experience, Charleson learned to identify abandoned dogs with service potential, plucking them from shelters and training them to work with disabled human partners, to whom the dogs bring assistance, comfort, and hope.
Similar to her best-selling first book, Scent of the Missing, Charleson’s The Possibility Dogs goes beyond the science that explains working canines to tell the stories of the dogs themselves. Like Merlin, a black Lab puppy who had been thrown away in a garbage bag and now stabilizes his partner’s panic attacks. And service dog Jake Piper, a formerly starving pit bull mix who went from abandoned to irreplaceable. This heartwarming combination of memoir and research is sure to both inform and inspire.
“What an amazing book. Combine love, knowledge, and real-life drama with pitch-perfect writing, and you’ll end up with The Possibility Dogs. Simply brilliant!” —Patricia McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash
“Insightful and earthy, Charleson is never maudlin. She keeps it real . . . All the stories have tremendous heart and power and you believe Charleson when she writes: ‘Any dog can surprise you,’ and ‘great dogs can come in odd packages.’” —Boston Globe
"You don’t have to be an animal lover to be moved by this beautifully written and impassioned account of the author’s work rescuing dogs from shelters and training them to be service animals...This is the rare book that can change minds about the reality of animals’ emotional lives." Publishers Weekly, starred
“Possibility Dogs” is a moving page-turner of a memoir from an accomplished trainer who shifts from the work of search and rescue to that of psychiatric service dogs. Her gritty, funny, insightful stories are of down-and-out dogs who end up performing miracles for people suffering from such things as post-traumatic stress disorder, acute panic attacks, or obsessive-compulsive disorder....Insightful and earthy, Charleson is never maudlin. She keeps it real....All the stories have tremendous heart and power and you believe Charleson when she writes: 'Any dog can surprise you,' and 'great dogs can come in odd packages.' Boston Globe
"For everyone who is interested in the human animal bond, this book is essential reading. Learn how service dogs can provide emotional support for people who are in great need." Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make us Human and Animals in Translation
"An eloquent and heartwarming journey into the world of some very special dogs. Susannah Charleson is a great humanitarian who recounts her efforts to turn abandoned and shelter-bound dogs into special service dogs for a host of less visible human disabilities. She succeeds as brilliantly as her re-purposed canines and in THE POSSIBILITY DOGS we cheer her every step of the way." Susan Richards, author of Chosen By a Horse
"What an amazing book. Combine love, knowledge and real-life drama with pitch-perfect writing, and you'll end up with The Possibility Dogs. Simply brilliant!" Patricia McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash
"Reading The Possibility Dogs is like taking an amazing literary journey with a dear friend by your side. The characters you meet will enchant you, but the storyteller will capture your heart. If you love dogs, this is a can’t miss book written by a kindred spirit." Jennifer Arnold, author of Through a Dog’s Eyes and In a Dog’s Heart
"Susannah Charleson is not a dog trainer who simply writes of dogs, but a true writer of lean, layered prose, who, like all fine writers, cannot help but tell us what lies closest to her heart and soul. The Possibility Dogs resonates with this- with desperate dogs and people close to the edge, close to being forgotten, who, through the efforts of Susannah and others, find each other, and in doing so, learn what is truly possible in life." Steve Duno, author of Last Dog on the Hill and Leader of the Pack
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Meet the Author
Susannah Charleson is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Scent of the Missing, as well as a flight instructor, service dog trainer, and canine search-and-rescue team member, who most recently began a non-profit organization called The Possibility Dogs, which rescues, trains, and places dogs with people suffering "unseen" disabilities. She lives with her search partner, Puzzle, a golden retriever certified for the recovery of missing persons, her service dog partner-in-training, Jake Piper, a German shepherd-pit bull-poodle mix, as well as a rabble of pomeranians, a chihuahua-cairn terrier mix, and two cats.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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My daughter is on a waiting list to get an DAD, diabetic alert dog. While this book is more about the training of psych dogs, some of the training procedures and expectations of service dogs is universal. Also, I found the information about how others should approach and treat service dogs interesting. This book would be good for any dog-lover (me included). But, it would be interesting to people would not necessarily label themselves as dog-lovers, but who might be more interested in the capabilities of dogs in reference to service. The personalities of these dogs who belong to the author are so well described, you just fall in love with each of them! Highest rating for this book!!!!
Profoundly insightful description of how partnerships between human beings with disabilities, both physical and mental, and service dog candidates carefully evaluated for their capabilities, can be brought together to make life not only bearable but sparkling for both dog and human. Perceptive, kind, but not sappy; I'm reading my copy the second time and gifting it to friends.
The capability of the dog is endless, I learned a lot about people and dogs, and how dogs help humans, when they are on duty, and when they are off duty, very interesting.