“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. 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Painful and glorious
I had never read an 'animal' book for fear of the emotional engagement it would require. This book just sucked me in; it's a wonderful balance of emotion and understanding the logic of the characteristics that make up the various types of service dog companions. The author is open with her own feelings and the stories she chooses can be heart wrenching. I smiled, cried heartily and couldn't put it down. And have already recommended it to several pet loving friends. I now understand the mighty pain of losing my cat companion earlier this year and have already purchased her other book. Talk about crashing through walls...thanks for the inspiration and understanding in a beautifully written book! Looking forward to her earlier book on search.