Publisher, Date:
New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
260 pages, 8 pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
A tour of the psychiatric service dog industry traces the author's work with unwanted shelter dogs before matching them with people in need, documenting her own partnership with a search canine while sharing uplifting success stories.
9780547734934 (hardcover)
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Health, Mind and Body
Dog training
Human-animal relationships
Animal behavior
- United States
Time Period
-- 21st century
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  Library Journal Review

Charleson (Scent of the Missing) takes readers on a new journey after a particularly gruesome search-and-rescue case involving 40 dogs that had been tortured, which left her suffering from PTSD. After noticing that Puzzle, her search-and-rescue dog, was helping her through these episodes, and following a chance encounter with a firefighter suffering from traumatic brain injury, Charleson became curious about psychiatric service dogs. This deeply moving and personal story chronicles the author's experiences learning to identify potential service dogs in shelters and discovering her own need for therapy dogs, especially as she also struggles with kidney disease. Eventually, Charleson forms a service dog nonprofit called Possibility Dogs. Her story not only underlies the strength of the human-dog connection but also shows that rescued dogs from all sorts of backgrounds and breeds (Charleson's therapy dog is a pit bull mix she rescued), even those with limitations (Ollie, a blind and deaf terrier, helps children overcome anxiety) can fill critical roles for humans in need. -VERDICT A touching and inspirational story that will appeal to animal lovers.-Lisa Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

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. Some go on to assist the visually impaired, while others help soldiers returning from combat to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Others aid sufferers of obsessive-compulsive disorder, allowing them to stay on task. While plenty of writers have shared their experiences of animal empathy, few have done so as well as Charleson (Scent of the Missing). An emotional highpoint is her description of Lexie, "a very light blond retriever from a bad situation who could use a little rescuing herself." Charleson teams Lexie up with Nancy, an online friend who has treatment-resistant depression. Nancy is given new opportunities to function by her service animal. This is the rare book that can change minds about the reality of animals' emotional lives. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An inspiring story that shows how dogs can be rescued, and can rescue in return.<br> <br> With her critically acclaimed, bestselling first book, Scent of the Missing , Susannah Charleson was widely praised for her unique insight into the kinship between humans and dogs, as revealed through her work in canine search and rescue alongside her partner, golden retriever Puzzle.<br> <br> Now, in The Possibility Dogs , Charleson journeys into the world of psychiatric service, where dogs aid humans with disabilities that may be unseen but are no less felt. This work had a profound effect on Charleson, perhaps because, for her, this journey began as a personal one: Charleson herself struggled with posttraumatic stress disorder for months after a particularly grisly search. Collaboration with her search dog partner made the surprising difference to her own healing. Inspired by that experience, Charleson learns to identify abandoned dogs with service potential, often plucking them from shelters at the last minute, and to train them for work beside hurting partners, to whom these second-chance dogs bring intelligence, comfort, and hope.<br> Along the way she comes to see canine potential everywhere, often where she least expects it - from Merlin the chocolate lab puppy with the broken tail once cast away in a garbage bag, who now stabilizes his partner's panic attacks; to Ollie, the blind and deaf terrier, rescued moments before it was too late, who now soothes anxious children; to Jake Piper, the starving pit bull terrier mix with the wayward ears who is transformed into a working service dog and, who, for Charleson, goes from abandoned to irreplaceable.
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