In The Possibility Dogs, author Susannah 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.
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.
HERE is a link to possibilitydogs.org.
Judy S. says:
"This book, by the author of Scent of the Missing, is about service dogs of all types -- search and rescue dogs, mobility dogs, and psych dogs -- all plucked from the pound, some just hours from a sad ending. Overlooked and unwanted, their lives are given HUGE purpose: their future humans would not make it without them.
When the author grabs a bony, starving Jake from the pound she sees something in his eyes, some glint of optimism or hope. She does not know yet that the spark of hope is expressly for her. In each of her stories we meet a dog others have given up on, but one who has ultimately moved a human life from despair to trust and wonder. It's hard to say who has benefited more.
I found this book uplifting and a very satisfying read. I laughed, I cried -- and like skinny Jakey and the cheese -- I just could not 'Leave It!'"