by Erin K. | | 7 Comments | Tags: ,

Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Underdogs.

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!


7 Responses to “The Underdogs, Week 2”

  1. Carrol

    Thanks for the videos. I found them to be helpful and very interesting. I actually thought they were more helpful than some of the sections of the book.

    I am really interested in reading about the families that have been changed through the services of these dogs. The things these dogs can do are amazing. The explanation about animal psychology is really not very interesting to me. I like reading the stories, but I could do without the science sections.

    I am interested in learning more about this valuable resource that has changed some very heartbreaking circumstances.

    • Erin K.

      Carrol, I am totally with you about the science sections. I really like dogs, but I guess I am not very interested in the science behind a dog’s behavior.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the videos. I thought they were a great way to actually see the dogs in action.

      I hope you are able to keep reading! Talk to you next week!

  2. Nicole Stewart

    My girl scout troop is accepting donations for 4Paws at the Winters Bellbrook location. We are collecting items and volunteering for our Bronze Award. So excited this goes along with The Big Read!!

    • Erin K.

      Thanks for letting us know, Nicole! What a great project for your troop!

  3. Katie

    As a dog nerd, the science sections were some of my favorites. It’s interesting to hear from others who don’t find those as fascinating. I like how Green establishes the need for these dogs before she jumps to Karen and her organization. By helping understand dog science in a really accessible way, she is showing how dogs are made to be our companions. The narrative definitely ramps up as you progress through the book.

    • Katie

      Oh, and I’m a volunteer trainer of papillons for 4Paws as well as a guardian home to a breeder female, so hence loving to learn about dog brains. 😄

      • Erin K.

        That makes sense, Katie, that you would have a different perspective and would appreciate the dog brain sections more than I would! I do have to say that those sections did help me to better understand why dogs are such great companions!

        That’s awesome that you are a volunteer trainer and a guardian home! I didn’t really know anything about papillons before reading this book, but now I think that they seem like pretty awesome dogs!

        Thanks for commenting and for leaving your perspective!

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