Monday, February 17, 2020

Puppy Love (Service Animals #1), by Lucy Gilmore (author), Lauren Sweet (narrator)

Dreamscape Media, May 2019

Sophie Vasquez and her sisters run Puppy Promise, a service puppy training organization. (I would be much happier about this if they weren't presented as placing the service dogs as puppies. Organization-trained service dogs are rarely placed before two years old. Being "fully trained" means having the discipline and impulse control to behave properly in public. Don't bet on this before at least 18 months.)

That complaint aside, Gilmore does present Sophie as a capable dog trainer.

In this case, she's assigned to get Harrison Parks, wildfire firefighter, trained and bonded with his new diabetic alert service dog, a Pomeranian.

Harrison Parks is, not surprisingly, highly resistant to the idea that his service dog will be a little ball of fluff with a really good nose. He thinks he needs a truly manly dog, like a Great Dane or an English bulldog.

Harrison has been told he won't be doing anymore wildfire firefighting until he has a working service dog, after he went into a diabetic coma on a training exercise. Since this is what he lives for, that's a problem, and it means he's going to accept the Pom, Bubbles. After a struggle, of course, but he's going to accept her. The getting there, though, will be difficult, for him and for Sophie.

Sophie has had her own health issues, chiefly a long struggle with leukemia until a bone marrow transplant cured her. Now, her main struggle is with her sisters' and mother's determination to shield her from everything hard. Sophie isn't willing to accept this coddling that she doesn't need.

It's a well-done conflict, and a convincingly developed attraction and growing relationship, with the broader family relationships also well done. Recommended--but not for those who will be too frustrated by the idea of puppies being placed as actual, working service dogs.

I bought this audiobook.

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