No, I am not talking about romantic love – but the love you can feel about a dog who is a “second chance” dog. For those of us who have been fortunate to adopt these pets from a shelter, humane society or breed rescue club, you know the joy they can bring to your life.
But for some people, such dogs can be the first step in reclaiming their life after illness has altered their lifestyle.
The Possibility Dogs: what a handful of ‘unadoptables’ taught me about service, hope and healing, details for us the importance of dogs trained for psychiatric service. The dogs highlighted in her book all have had challenging beginnings, narrowly escaping euthanasia at kill shelters, or found abandoned on the city streets. But all the dogs had a definite spark of curiosity and the drive to help the humans who needed their service. Merlin was a “throw-away” chocolate lab (found in a garbage bag with a broken tail) who was trained to help his owner cope with an anxiety disorder. Other dogs described in the book assist their human companions by various trained behaviors, such as redirecting repetitive behavior, common with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Charleston is no stranger to psychiatric issues. As a result of a particularly grisly search and rescue with her golden retriever, Puzzle, she copes with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Charleston’s neighbors found a starving mixed-breed puppy near their home and they appeared on her doorstep one morning with the little one in their arms. With a soft heart, Charleston adopted him, naming the pup Jake Piper. The puppy eagerly bonded with Charleston, and now as an adult dog, he helps her cope with everyday tasks which had become difficult due to PTSD.
Scent of the Missing. You will be awed by the team’s perseverance and dedication—-I know that I was.
We have other wonderful books to share with you about man’s best friend and I hope to highlight a few with you in future posts!
Another link that you might enjoy is the site for search and rescue dogs that work in Illinois and Wisconsin: ILL-WI SAR.