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
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
What do you get when you take into your heart and into your home a dog that doesn't stand a chance? Devotion, Loyalty. Love without end.
And with service dogs, a chance to live a normal life.
So many of us take life for granted, living with occasional compulsions, flare ups of anxiety and fears, every now and then feeling disoriented, but there are those amongst us who are absolutely debilitated by these things. This is old news by now, but this book makes it real, yet again, gives us names, faces, emotions that are touching, and we wind up rooting for people who open their hearts and put their fates in the paws of the service dogs who save them. But really. What I like about this book is that it's such a chicken and the egg deal. Somebody saves the dog? The dog saves somebody else? That somebody continues to care for the dog? The dog continues to care for the person? Where does it begin, where does it end?
It doesn't matter, because it's wonderful, and so filled with hard work, faith, and hope that you wind up thinking about it long after your reading/listening time is over.
My only advice is to listen to it at x1.25 if you find Charleson's narration to drag. Even then, it's kind of slow going. Still, I enjoyed the emotion in her voice, and the tone, just too many pauses for my taste.
Wonderful book, great epilogue. Bravo to animal rescue and trainers!
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
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).
Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.
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.
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!
This book hit on a subject of great interest to me. Susannah gives great detail of her finding, discovering abilities and training dogs for service to people with a variety of needs. One wonderful part of this book is that many times she rescued a dog to save it and in turn the dog rescued a human. A big emphasis is on psychiatric-service dogs and therapy dogs. For me this book was hard to put down. It's a subject I'm deeply interested in.
What did I not like about this book? Absolutely nothing!
It added to the value of this book, that the author did the reading. Now I will look for all of her work and read them as well, no matter the subject.
Thank You, Thank You!!
Oh yes. If you want to know how therapy dogs or just about learning the dog psyche, this is the book for you.
Finding and training the right dog from a shelter.
Yes, I felt like this was much better for me then her other book that I listened to.
Yes! She sounds like such an amazing person.
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.
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.
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.
Possibility Dogs is one of my all-time favorite books. As a novice dog trainer, I find the myriad possibilities it illuminates for the development of human-canine partnerships exciting. As a rescuer and shelter volunteer, I find the compassion and passion for rescue and second chances powerfully hopeful. As someone who has lived through, and still must work past, debilitating mental illness, I find the individual stories of partnership and healing inspiring and heartening. And as someone who lives, loves, and works with canine friends, I find the personalities of the people in this book, canine and human,, delightful, often side-achingly funny, and above all vividly true to life. "Don't feed your head to your brother," indeed!
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