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The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of 'Unadoptables' Taught Me about Service, Hope, and Healing | [Susannah Charleson]

The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of 'Unadoptables' Taught Me about Service, Hope, and Healing

From the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller, Scent of the Missing, comes a heartwarming and inspiring story that shows how dogs can be rescued and can rescue in return. For her first book, Susannah Charleson was praised for her unique insight into the kinship between humans and dogs, as revealed through canine search and rescue. In The Possibility Dogs Charleson chronicles her journey into the world of psychiatric-service and therapy dogs trained to serve the human mind, a journey that began as a personal one. After a particularly grisly search led to a struggle with PTSD, Charleson credits healing to her partnership with search dog Puzzle. Inspired by that experience and having met dogs formally trained to assist in such crises, 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.
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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller, Scent of the Missing, comes a heartwarming and inspiring story that shows how dogs can be rescued and can rescue in return.

For her first book, Susannah Charleson was praised for her unique insight into the kinship between humans and dogs, as revealed through canine search and rescue. In The Possibility Dogs Charleson chronicles her journey into the world of psychiatric-service and therapy dogs trained to serve the human mind, a journey that began as a personal one. After a particularly grisly search led to a struggle with PTSD, Charleson credits healing to her partnership with search dog Puzzle. Inspired by that experience and having met dogs formally trained to assist in such crises, 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.

From black Lab puppy Merlin, once cast away in a garbage bag, who stabilizes his partner’s panic attacks to Ollie, the blind and deaf terrier who soothes anxious children, to Jake Piper, the starving pit bull mix who goes from abandoned to irreplaceable, The Possibility Dogs illuminates a whole new world of canine potential.

©2013 Susannah Charleson (P)2013 Blackstone Audio

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  •  
    Tango Texas 09-04-13
    Tango Texas 09-04-13

    Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.

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    "Rescue is the New Black"

    For all the efforts my friends and I put into pulling dogs and cats from kill shelters, rounding up foster homes, and lobbying for laws mandating humane treatment and spay/neuter, none of that may be as effective at making the case to stop the mass killing of dogs as this book. With a calm and persuasive authorial voice, Susannah Charleson clearly shows with personal examples what a mostly untapped resource is sitting in our pounds and shelters. This book is an entertaining and poignant presentation of some of the ways that dogs can be utilized and trained as human assistants (for both physical and psychological disabilities) and clearly shows that our years of breeding dogs to work for us and with us has resulted in many animals with a proclivity to learn and assist - it's not a breed specific characteristic. I absolutely loved Susannah Charleson writing in both this book and her first book, Scent of the Missing, but I did not think her narration with this second book was as good as the first. For some reason, she has adopted the style of some professional narrators of kind of "tailing off" (no pun intended) her voice at the end of some phrases which can make it a little hard to hear especially with background noise (like in the car). However, I still highly recommend this very engaging audio book to anyone who cares about dogs or is interested in the types of therapies (and they are now MANY) in which dogs can assist (and potentially be trained by their owners).

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Glen Gardner, NJ, United States 07-25-13
    Karen Glen Gardner, NJ, United States 07-25-13 Member Since 2008

    Likes: Cozy mysteries, esp w/cats, books on workings of the brain/autism, not-too-dark fantasy. Dislikes: Animal cruelty, torture scenes.

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    "Sweet and Educational, a little slow/hard to hear"
    What didn’t you like about Susannah Charleson’s performance?

    I only give low performance marks if something about the performance makes it hard for me to enjoy the book. I actually like Charleson's voice, a dramatic whisper, and it is great for dramatic and serious moments. But she talks like that all the time even when describing at length how dogs receive a treat. But the real reason for the low mark is that the whispering made it hard to hear when listening in the car on my GPS.That aside I did like the book, and I am a cat person rather than a dog person, but the stories of the dogs in this book were very moving. Also liked the educational aspects of the rules for service dogs and the different tasks they do and how they are trained. I was hoping we might get some details about how a service dog is used for a child with autism but we didn't, but that is just because I am an autism mom so I would have found that interesting. Mostly, we see a lot of OCD. The book did drag a little at points though. I was pleased we didn't go into detail on any animal cruelty. I liked how Charleson brought us up to date on various characters at the end. Good wrap up.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Lee Gainesville, Florida United States 02-11-14
    Jane Lee Gainesville, Florida United States 02-11-14 Member Since 2009
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    "dogs climb the evolution ladder"
    What did you love best about The Possibility Dogs?

    The dogs were cared for as individuals whether they were appropriate for this type of trianing or not.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    This is more educational than entertaining, It presents a whole new area of service dogs are able to provide. A breakthrough for people with emotional and other health problems. Although some of this type of service exists, it's not known or used nearly as much as it could be.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    patricia indianapolis, IN, United States 07-09-14
    patricia indianapolis, IN, United States 07-09-14 Member Since 2005

    I love dogs books about dogs and I love historical fiction.

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    "Great dog book. The authors voice was wonderful."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Oh yes. If you want to know how therapy dogs or just about learning the dog psyche, this is the book for you.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Possibility Dogs?

    Finding and training the right dog from a shelter.


    Have you listened to any of Susannah Charleson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, I felt like this was much better for me then her other book that I listened to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes! She sounds like such an amazing person.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 05-21-14
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 05-21-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Woof!"
    What did you love best about The Possibility Dogs?

    I enjoyed this book immensely! As a service dog handler myself, I can relate to much of the training exercises, and was even given little tips on how to work on unwanted behaviors in my own service dog partner.

    I learned a lot about ESAs and psychiatric service dogs, owner training, and many other tidbits that I'd never even considered.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I cried during some of the scenes where dogs are deemed unadoptable. It is so sad! Some of the reasons were tragic, others horrifying.
    I loved the training with Jake Piper... he reminds me a lot of my service dog partner.


    Any additional comments?

    I agree with another review that the breathless narration is annoying on occasion. If Scent of the Missing is a better performance, then I look forward to it!

    This book will make you smile, laugh, cry, and warm your heart.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 05-11-14
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 05-11-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent Story!!!!"

    This was an extremely interesting book for me. The book begins by talking about attitudes towards psychiatric service dogs and service dogs for those with "invisible" disabilities. Since I work in the field of civil rights, including those with disabilities, I see this in my work and I absolutely get the difficulties these individuals face on a daily basis.

    The author has developed her own foundation called Possibility Dogs, Inc., which I didn't realize until the end of the book. It is mentioned in the afterward and is not the focus of the book. What a great idea; this foundation helps to support those with service dogs in any way they can. The author tells her story in between stories about others who have the need of service dogs and the dogs themselves. I loved each and every story and there was never a time in this book when I was bored or felt my attention wander.

    I could particularly relate to the story of Ollie T., an elderly blind dog who was left in a shelter. I have a 17 yr old blind and partially deaf shih-Tzu and this hit such an emotional chord with me. She is doing well in every other way, but I see her struggle with her lack of sight in familiar surroundings. I cannot even imagine having her face life in a shelter or other unfamiliar environment as a blind senior. My heart definitely went out to Ollie and I am so happy that he ended up with Susannah.

    I listened to this on audio, and I am normally not a fan of author's reading their own books. There are exceptions, and I am happy to say that this is one of them. I enjoyed the narration, particularly as her empathy towards both the humans and the animals that she discusses came through loud and clear. I also have to say that one of the Goodreads groups that I belong to is reading this book this month, and the author has been participating in our discussions; this further humanizes the reading/listening experience. I definitely plan on reading her first book, Scent of the Missing, and hope to read future books by her!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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