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Book Review: ‘The Possiblity Dogs’ by Susannah Charleston

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Susannah Charleston is a flight instructor and works search-and-rescue operations with her dog partner, Puzzle.  She is also a dog rescuer who shares her home with a handful of Poms as well as with Puzzle. When she suffers a bout of PTSD, she becomes interested in “therapy dogs,” especially those who work with people with psychiatric disorders. Her research and subsequent experience with one such dog led to The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of “Unadoptables” Taught Me About Service, Hope, and Healing.

The idea of using dogs to assist those who have mental disorders such as OCD or extreme depression is a new one. although dogs have long been used to help the blind or those with other physical disabilities. Charleson discovered that rescue dogs can often be trained for this service, although the training is rigorous and not every dog who seems suited to the work has the discipline and the heart for it.  When she learns that often individuals can train these dogs either for themselves or for others, Charleson adopts Jake and embarks on an adventure in training and mutual care and devotion.

In the course of the story of Jake, Charleson introduces us to many other wonderful dogs, including  the chocolate Pom Mizzen, Ollie, who has ears like a rabbit, excitable Smokey, sweet MIsty, and the irrepressible Poms.

The stories are funny, heartwarming, sad, but always engrossing. These are dogs who were abandoned, lost, or whose owners died and left them homeless. Many of them were older and not particularly cute. They were very close to be written off and put to sleep, and yet the Possibility Dogs are just that. They are full of love, intelligence, and dedication. They not only can learn the tasks to help people who desperately need them, but they love and enjoy their jobs and choose to serve over every other temptation life may offer.

Dog lovers will be enthralled by this book and so will those interested in treatment methods for those with mental disorders who may not respond to medications and other traditional treatments but who may, as these stories, attest, respond well to a service dog.  Get the book and be prepared to fall in love with Jake, Puzzle, Ollie and the rest of the wonderful cast of canines here.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.