The Possibility Dogs – Book Review

What a handful of “Unadoptables taught me about service, hope, and healing

By the author of “Scent of the Missing” – Susannah Charleson

In one word; Inspiring


I hit the follow Susannah on Facebook button soon after reading her first book about her journey through search in rescue and her search dog Puzzle.  I knew a bit about what her new book might hold. The book is not about search and rescue to which I am involved as a K9 handler. Would it have the same hold on me as her first book?

I believe everyone knows the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” So, when I slid the book out of the shipping envelope and saw a little white dog with a goofy grin, tilted head, and ridiculous half cocked bat ears, I thought, “This will be cute.” I also figured I could read a few chapters a day in between my busy schedule of studying, working, and training two search dogs.  I got absolutely nothing done for the past two days.

The  journey begins immersed in the confused gritty red-dust covered memories of a firefighter who survived a terrible accident. The imagery conjured a frantic feeling of desperation; a need to claw your way out of the hell that was laid before the mind’s eye.  Charleston gently leads you out into the comforting fresh air with the soft touch and sweet gaze of a little mixed dog. The firefighter’s wonderful, shelter rescued dog can predict his episodes of PTSD and stop them, waken him from nightmares and flashbacks, and lead him home. She is one of many amazing canines you will meet in this remarkable book.

The author skillfully braids the stories of others with her own experience raising and training her own service dogs. This book paints gorgeous pictures that will fill you with tears, laughter, anger, and heartwarming joy. Who can forget a dog named Juice Box that completely changed the life of a young teenager who couldn’t safely leave house without him?  How about a lab with a creaking tail? Or a tiny gray lilliputian with enormous ears rescued hours before he was to be euthanized? Charleson’s voice brought such vivid detail to the page, I felt as if the people and their service dogs were all very dear friends of mine.

This book is at my bedside table to read again, and again. Possibility Dogs indeed has a hold on me.

The book may be found on Amazon. Possibility Dogs by Susannah Charleson

Susannah does more than write a book about it.  She started her own organization to help those in need of a service dog!

The name:  Possibility Dogs

Susannah Charleson begun an organization to help match and train K9 partners for those in need of a service dog.  Her website says it best:

We identify, rescue, and train talented homeless dogs for psychiatric and utility service. We connect partners with a heart for rescue to service dogs that have love and skills to share. And we support that partnership for the long-term—through ongoing training, public education, and research

You may find out more at her website Possibility Dogs

See a great interview with Susannah and Jake Piper here: Susannah News Interview

2 Responses to “The Possibility Dogs – Book Review”

  1. It’s very good to see all this useful information on dog training.
    I have a concern however. How do you train an older dog?

    • You train an older dog the exact same way. As for search and rescue, we do not suggest starting an older dog. It takes about 2 years to completely train a dog. If your dog is 4, he will not be trained until 6. Most SAR dogs retire around 10 years old (they are athletes for one and two, people’s lives depend on them!) That means you will only get 4 good working years out of that dog. Also, building drive and focus for a toy can be done with a puppy. An older dog must possess these qualities already in order to be considered.

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