Synopses & Reviews
An inspiring story that shows how dogs can be rescued, and can rescue in return.
With her critically acclaimed, bestselling first book, Scent of the Missing, Susannah Charleson was widely praised for her unique insight into the kinship between humans and dogs, as revealed through her work in canine search and rescue alongside her partner, golden retriever Puzzle.
Now, in The Possibility Dogs, 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 and#8211; from Merlin the chocolate lab puppy with the broken tail once cast away in a garbage bag, who now stabilizes his partnerand#8217;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.
"Man's best friend stars in this memoir by an Iraq vet who returns to New York and enlists the help of a golden retriever named Tuesday to help him re-acclimate in a new world marked by a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. MontalvÃ¡n, a former captain of the US Army, is most compelling when zoning in on specifics, especially related to his psychological disorder: 'The subway was a horror for my PTSD-addled brain, a nail-gripping, muscle-tensing ride in a claustrophobic tube full of faces my mind compulsively studied for signs of malicious intent.' Although provided the assistance of a doctor and therapist, the commute to and from these sessions caused MontalvÃ¡n immense anxiety filled with hypothetical dangers. Public-speaking engagements similarly were racked with anxiety, and described vividly. Tuesday, a gentle golden retriever, became the perfect remedy for the veteran's neurosis. Though canine assistance and the Iraq war are both major characters, this is a valuable first-person glimpse into how someone with PTSD thinks. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"An inspiring and refreshingly optimistic reminder about the untapped possibilities that exist in the relationships between humans and dogs." -- Kirkus Reviews
"You donand#8217;t have to be an animal lover to be moved by this beautifully written and impassioned account of the authorand#8217;s work rescuing dogs from shelters and training them to be service animals...This is the rare book that can change minds about the reality of animalsand#8217; emotional lives." -- Publishers Weekly, starred
and#8220;Possibility Dogsand#8221; is a moving page-turner of a memoir from an accomplished trainer who shifts from the work of search and rescue to that of psychiatric service dogs. Her gritty, funny, insightful stories are of down-and-out dogs who end up performing miracles for people suffering from such things as post-traumatic stress disorder, acute panic attacks, or obsessive-compulsive disorder....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.'and#160; -- Boston Globe
"For everyone who is interested in the human animal bond, this book is essential reading. Learn how service dogs can provide emotional support for people who are in great need." -- Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make us Human and Animals in Translation "An eloquent and heartwarming journey into the world of some very special dogs. Susannah Charleson is a great humanitarian who recounts her efforts to turn abandoned andand#12288;shelter-bound dogs into special service dogs for a host of less visible human disabilities. She succeeds as brilliantly as her re-purposed canines and in THE POSSIBILITY DOGS we cheer her every step of the way." -- Susan Richards, author of Chosen By a Horse "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!"and#160;-- Patricia McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash "Reading The Possibility Dogs is like taking an amazing literary journey with a dear friend by your side.and#12288; The characters you meet will enchant you, but the storyteller will capture your heart. If you love dogs, this is a canand#8217;t miss book written by a kindred spirit." -- Jennifer Arnold, author of Through a Dogand#8217;s Eyes and In a Dogand#8217;s Heart "Susannah Charleson is not a dog trainer who simply writes of dogs, but a true writer of lean, layered prose, who, like all fine writers, cannot help but tell us what lies closest to her heart and soul. The Possibility Dogs resonates with this- with desperate dogs and people close to the edge, close to being forgotten, who, through the efforts of Susannah and others, find each other, and in doing so, learn what is truly possible in life." -- Steve Duno, author of Last Dog on the Hill and Leader of the Pack
"We aren't just service dog and master;
Tuesday and I are also best friends. Kindred souls. Brothers.
Whatever you want to call it. We weren't made for each other,
but we turned out to be exactly what the other needed."
A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll. Haunted by the war and in constant physical pain, he soon found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or face a bus ride to the VA hospital. He drank; he argued; ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved. Alienated and alone, unable to sleep or bend over without pain, he began to wonder if he would ever recover.
Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, blessing many lives; he could turn on lights, open doors, and sense the onset of anxiety and flashbacks. But because of a unique training situation and sensitive nature, he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being-until Luis.
Until Tuesday is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. But more than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how together they healed each other's souls.
A heartwarming dog story like no other: Tuesday, a lovable golden retriever, changes a former soldier's life forever.
A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, his physical wounds and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll. He wondered if he would ever recover.
Then Luis met Tuesday, a sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived among prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, and he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being--until Luis.
Until Tuesday is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. But more than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how, together, they healed each other's souls.
A uniquely personal, moving, and inspiring journey into the rapidly emerging world of psychiatric service dogs, as Susannah Charleson works as an evaluator in shelters, plucking unwanted dogs, big and small, training them for this unique kind of service, and matching them with people in need.
About the Author
Luis Carlos Montalván is a 17 year veteran and retired Captain of the US Army where he earned the Combat Action Badge, two Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart. Luis' writing is published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The International Herald Tribune (among others), and NPR, CBS, AFP, BBC, C-SPAN, ANP, and Democracy Now have all featured his amazing personal tale and vocal criticism of the war. Luis lives in Brooklyn and is a student at The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. www.luiscarlosmontalvan.com
Bret Witter is the writer behind Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, which spent months on the Times Bestseller List and has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide.