How did the first five chapters treat you this week? The writing is pretty straightforward, so I found it easy to move quickly through the chapters. Do you feel like the book is pretty easy to read?
In the first two chapters we meet two different dogs, and we learn how they are helping two different families. Juke is trained to help a teenager named Logan who suffers from uncontrollable violent outbursts. Barkley aids Ben, an autistic boy who frequently escapes from home. Even though these two dogs perform different tasks, they are both incredibly helpful to the families that adopted them. Both dogs took a huge burden off of the parents, and they helped to bring the families some joy. Were you surprised by the tasks these dogs could perform? I don’t have much exposure to service dogs, so I was surprised that dogs could be trained to calm an out-of-control child.
How do you feel about the science sections that are sprinkled in with the narratives about the children and the dogs? Are you interested in animal psychology, and do you enjoy trying to decide if animals really can love or think? I didn’t feel especially interested in these sections. In fact, they kind of drew me out of the narrative and made the story feel a little disjointed. What did you think? Do you wish the book focused more on the people and not as much on the science?
In the first five chapters, we didn’t really get to know much about Karen, the founder of 4 Paws for Ability. I was a little disappointed by this fact. I wish that her story was the first chapter featured, just so I could understand the organization a little bit better. Did you want to learn more about Karen and her background in these first few chapters?
Reading about all of these animals was pretty cool, but I have really enjoyed finding videos online that show more about these service dogs. If you have a minute, check out some of these videos to see the service dogs in action.
Let me know what you thought of this first section. And, please, if you have any first-hand experience with 4 Paws or any other service dog organization, please share.
Make sure to read chapters 6–11 before you join us next week!