Paws, Purpose and Possibilities: How therapy dogs and faith healed my heart
Author Gail Scoates shares her story of how therapy dogs gave her a sense of purpose following the death of her beloved younger sister.
Dogs had always played a significant part in Gail’s life. Growing up, there were many dogs in the family, and Gail recalls happy memories and adventures with her sister, Karen, and their dogs. She describes how dogs provided a sense of comfort and security throughout her whole life. When Karen was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at the age of thirty-eight, Gail witnessed the special love and bond between Karen and her two dogs, Preston and Tanner. When Karen sadly passed away, Gail’s dog, Tucker, provided comfort and helped her through the grieving process. Following Karen’s passing, Gail became involved with the PAWS ministry, a therapy dog program. Gail trained up Tucker as a therapy dog, and together they visited a residential home for children with emotional and behavioural challenges, providing them with an opportunity to play and have fun, while learning how to interact with a dog safely. When Tucker passed away, Gail adopted a rescue dog, Max, and also trained him up as a therapy dog. Through many dog therapy visits, and observing the positive impact on children, Gail was able to find a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
Later, Gail set up her own dog therapy program, named Karing Partners in memory of her sister. She was successful in setting up a program in a hospital and recruited other volunteer handlers and their dogs. With Max, and a subsequent dog, Sadie, the program made a significant difference to the lives of many patients and their families, hospital visitors, and health care staff.
Paws, Purpose and Possibilities: How therapy dogs and faith healed my heart is a beautiful memoir by author Gail Scoates. Gail shares her story of how dogs supported her through many difficult periods of her life, including the death of her younger sister, and how therapy dogs have changed the lives of many others. This is a powerful story that not only shows the special bond between humans and dogs, but how dogs can help support, heal and rehabilitate people. A ‘Paws for Reflection’ section at the end of each chapter, provides the reader with an opportunity for personal reflection. Gail’s commitment and dedication to dog therapy work is remarkable and her story is inspiring.
Star rating: 5 Stars
Summary: A beautiful and inspiring memoir, by an inspirational woman.