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The Underdogs: Children, Dogs, and the Power…
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The Underdogs: Children, Dogs, and the Power of Unconditional Love

by Melissa Fay Greene

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A very moving and informative book about the "4 Paws for Ability" service dog academy - specializing in training dogs for children with special needs and their families. The author goes into detail about the history of service dogs, the evolution of dogs in general, and the development of the practice of placing dogs specifically for children. As a family that has raised, trained, and worked with four Therapy Dogs it was interesting and heartwarming to read about the people and dogs that provide so much comfort, relief, and love to children and families in need. This is a MUST READ for anyone that loves dogs and understands their "special powers". ( )
  labdaddy4 | Nov 28, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062218514, Hardcover)

From two-time National Book Award nominee Melissa Fay Greene comes a profound and surprising account of dogs on the front lines of rescuing both children and adults from the trenches of grief, emotional, physical, and cognitive disability, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Underdogs tells the story of Karen Shirk, felled at age twenty-four by a neuromuscular disease and facing life as a ventilator-dependent, immobile patient, who was turned down by every service dog agency in the country because she was “too disabled.” Her nurse encouraged her to tone down the suicidal thoughts, find a puppy, and raise her own service dog. Karen did this, and Ben, a German shepherd, dragged her back into life. “How many people are stranded like I was,” she wondered, “who would lead productive lives if only they had a dog?”

A thousand state-of-the-art dogs later, Karen Shirk’s service dog academy, 4 Paws for Ability, is restoring broken children and their families to life. Long shunned by scientists as a manmade, synthetic species, and oft- referred to as “Man’s Best Friend” almost patronizingly, dogs are finally paid respectful attention by a new generation of neuroscientists and animal behaviorists. Melissa Fay Greene weaves the latest scientific discoveries about our co-evolution with dogs with Karen’s story and a few exquisitely rendered stories of suffering children and their heartbroken families.

Written with characteristic insight, humanity, humor, and irrepressible joy, what could have been merely touching is a penetrating, compassionate exploration of larger questions: about our attachment to dogs, what constitutes a productive life, and what can be accomplished with unconditional love.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 22 Feb 2016 04:09:36 -0500)

"Describes the unbreakable bond between humans and canines through the story of a severely disabled woman who began training her own service dogs after she was deemed "too disabled" to receive one by every agency in the U.S."--NoveList.

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