Tag Archives: therapy dog

Review! Chester and Gus by Cammie McGovern

6 Sep

Chester and Gus
By Cammie McGovern
272 pages – ages 9+
Published by HarperCollins on April 4, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- “Chester has always wanted to become a service dog. When he fails his certification test, though, it seems like that dream will never come true—until a family adopts him. They want him to be a companion for their ten-year-old son, Gus, who has autism. But Gus acts so differently than anyone Chester has ever met. He never wants to pet Chester, and sometimes he doesn’t even want Chester in the room. Chester’s not sure how to help Gus since this isn’t exactly the job he trained for—but he’s determined to figure it out. Because after all, Gus is now his person.”

What I Thought- I enjoyed this book – it really brought a lot of insight into not only the background behind service dogs, but also into the lives of lower-functioning autistic kids. One thing I thought was really interesting was how McGovern explains how dogs communicate with people – I don’t want to spoil the book, but it is a central aspect, and you will love it too! The book is told from a service dog’s, point of view. Chester is a sweet dog, trained to want to help people, and he will go above and beyond to help others. I do like how McGovern has Chester, who is surprisingly a figure one can easily relate to, compare and contrast Gus for us. Chester shows us ways that he is similar to Gus (not liking loud noises, for example), and is also able to succinctly explain Gus’ other behaviors as well. This will ultimately give readers more of an understanding about lower-functioning autistic kids. As the reader learns more about Gus and why he is the way he is – Chester clears up misconceptions. Chester sees Gus for who he is and is totally accepting. The unconditional love between a dog and his human is explained beautifully. The book is well-written, flows nicely and doesn’t drag at all. I think kids will benefit from reading about two lives we don’t normally get an inside look on. Maybe it will help us all to see the world a bit more like Chester and appreciate those who are beautifully different from ourselves.  I highly recommend this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Frankie, the Walk ‘n Roll Dog

9 Mar

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because the message of the book is very encouraging for people and pets with disabilities.

Frankie, the Walk ‘n Roll Dog

By Barbara Gail Techel

Illustrated Victoria Kay Lieffring

52 pages – ages 4+

Published by Joyful Paw Prints on January 11, 2008

Theme/Topic –  Disabilities / Therapy dogs / Pets

Opening and Synopsis –  “Hi, my name is Frankie! Welcome to my life.”

Frankie is a mix between a standard and a miniature Dachshund or a “tweenie weenie” *giggle*. The story starts out telling the story of how Frankie was adopted by her human Mom and Dad. Frankie had a happy life. She liked to go to the park, ride in the front basket of her Mom’s bicycle and play with her dog sister. One day Frankie had an accident. She tripped on her food bowl and she fell and hurt her back very badly. Frankie had to have surgery and lots of therapy, but Frankie couldn’t walk again. Frankie’s parents found a “doggie wheelchair” and gave Frankie wheels to use instead of her back legs. It took a long time but Frankie is able to do most of the things she used to (with a little help).  Even though Frankie now has “wheels” she’s still the same great, sweet dog her Mom and Dad always knew!

Why I liked this book – Lynn Davidson (of the Polilla Writes blog) told me about this book because she thought I would like it. As soon as I read about the book I thought it was an incredible story and I asked my mom to get it for me! It is so cool that Frankie can “walk” with her wheels. I like how the book is told as if Frankie is telling it.  I think the book shows that even though Frankie has a disability, she is still a great pet and can pretty much do all the things she used to, just a little differently. I also learned that Frankie is a “therapy dog” and she visits senior humans that have Alzheimer’s and dementia. In fact there is a second book about Frankie as a therapy dog called “Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby’s House”.  I want to learn more about therapy dogs so I’m going to get this book too. I think this book can help kids realize that a disability does not have to mean you can’t do things and you may even be able to help others. There are a lot of words on each page so it would be a good read aloud book for younger kids. I think this book encourages everyone to keep “walking and rolling” along!

Activities and Resources –

The website for Frankie is HERE. There is a lot of information about Frankie and pets with disabilities.

This is a great video telling Frankie’s story

I found a coloring page about a therapy dog that visits kids in hospitals HERE.

I learned a lot about therapy dogs when I was looking for resources. I found that therapy dogs may or may not have a disability themselves and they help people in all kinds of ways. I even saw a couple of articles saying that therapy dogs can help kids read. Click HERE to see one of the articles.

I once met another really awesome disabled dog once at a dog show we went to. Her name is Faith. She only has her two back legs and she still walks around fine. You can learn more about Faith HERE.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

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