The Underdogs

The Underdogs

Synopsis

From two-time National Book Award nominee Melissa Fay Greene comes a profound and surprising account of dogs on the front lines of rescuing both children and adults from the trenches of grief, emotional, physical, and cognitive disability, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Underdogs tells the story of Karen Shirk, felled at age twenty-four by a neuromuscular disease and facing life as a ventilator-dependent, immobile patient, who was turned down by every service dog agency in the country because she was “too disabled.” Her nurse encouraged her to tone down the suicidal thoughts, find a puppy, and raise her own service dog. Karen did this, and Ben, a German shepherd, dragged her back into life. “How many people are stranded like I was,” she wondered, “who would lead productive lives if only they had a dog?”

A thousand state-of-the-art dogs later, Karen Shirk’s service dog academy, 4 Paws for Ability, is restoring broken children and their families to life. Long shunned by scientists as a manmade, synthetic species, and oft- referred to as “Man’s Best Friend” almost patronizingly, dogs are finally paid respectful attention by a new generation of neuroscientists and animal behaviorists. Melissa Fay Greene weaves the latest scientific discoveries about our co-evolution with dogs with Karen’s story and a few exquisitely rendered stories of suffering children and their heartbroken families.

Written with characteristic insight, humanity, humor, and irrepressible joy, what could have been merely touching is a penetrating, compassionate exploration of larger questions: about our attachment to dogs, what constitutes a productive life, and what can be accomplished with unconditional love.

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Chapters

  • 001 The Underdogs
    Duration: 15s
  • 002 Introduction
    Duration: 23min
  • 003 Chapter 01
    Duration: 32min
  • 004 Chapter 02
    Duration: 56min
  • 005 Chapter 03
    Duration: 22min
  • 006 Chapter 04
    Duration: 53min
  • 007 Chapter 05
    Duration: 27min
  • 008 Chapter 06
    Duration: 34min
  • 009 Chapter 07
    Duration: 27min
  • 010 Chapter 08
    Duration: 40min
  • 011 Chapter 09
    Duration: 38min
  • 012 Chapter 10
    Duration: 23min
  • 013 Chapter 11
    Duration: 34min
  • 014 Chapter 12
    Duration: 39min
  • 015 Chapter 13
    Duration: 33min
  • 016 Chapter 14
    Duration: 39min
  • 017 Chapter 15
    Duration: 24min
  • 018 Chapter 16
    Duration: 24min
  • 019 Chapter 17
    Duration: 19min
  • 020 Chapter 18
    Duration: 36min
  • 021 Credits
    Duration: 37s
  • sample
    Duration: 01min

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