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The Possibility Dogs: What I Learned from Second-Chance Rescues About Service, Hope, and Healing Paperback – June 3, 2014
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"An inspiring and refreshingly optimistic reminder about the untapped possibilities that exist in the relationships between humans and dogs." -- Kirkus Reviews
"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
From the Back Cover
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
[AU PHOTO] Susannah Charleson, author of the New York Times bestseller Scent of the Missing, is a flight instructor, service dog trainer, and canine search-and-rescue team member. She lives with Puzzle, a golden retriever certified for the recovery of missing persons; service dog Jake Piper, a German shepherd pit bull poodle mix; and a rabble of rescued Pomeranians and terriers.
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Jake might have died, or he might have lived an ordinary or mean life, if not for Susannah. With her, he has become the embodiment of goodness. Jake is not an obedient automaton. Susannah has brought out the goodness that was always in him. Jake wants to be good and helpful. Jake had been abandonned, thrown away, deemed useless. Now he is a contributing member of society and a shining example to us all. How many millions of good Jakes are being thrown away, abused, neglected, and killed, when they could become wonderful, useful, intelligent, kind companions? Two of my dogs came from shelters, one was found tied to a tree, starving, and one was found running around the freeway. All four dogs are wonderful companions and three of them are working dogs.
I am sure this book will reach a wide audience, and I hope it will inspire others to consider how humans and dogs can associate in mutualistic relationships. It is, after all, how we came to be here in the first place. We would still be insignificant primates swinging in trees if not for the association of humans and dogs 30,000 years ago. Throughout history, dogs have helped us hunt and farm, they have protected us from danger and guided us home. Our relationship with dogs took us to corners of the globe where we would not have survived alone. Now that their work is largely over in those realms, having been replaced by machines, it is fitting that dogs can once again help us as psychiatric service dogs. It is a relationship that rewards the dog and the human, leading each to a better life than would be possible apart.
I bought this book in Kindle format and also as an Audible book. While it is a great book either way, I highly recommend the audiobook. Ms. Charleson is a pleasure to spend time with. She feels like a friend, and her voice is so soft, smooth, and clear, with the slightest Texas accent at times. Also, she vocalizes the odd sounds of her dogs, which you should not miss. Get in your car with your dogs for a road trip to anywhere, and take this audiobook with you. You will fall in love with Susannah and Jake and all the others.