This book caught my attention because of this adorable yellow lab smiling on the front cover. Ok, I’m a sucker for cute Labradors, what can I say? The story turns out to be about exactly what the title says “Weekends with Daisy”. The author, Shannon Luttrell, becomes a partner in the Prison PUP Program with NEADs as a weekend puppy raiser. NEADS is a special program in that 90-95% of NEADS puppies are trained in 10 correctional facilities throughout New England. The program provides a unique opportunity for inmates to interact with dogs and give back to their community where they are able to provide a high level of training due to the copious amounts of time they can spend with the dogs. Another vital part of the program is the Weekend Furloughs. People volunteer to be weekend puppy raisers and are charged with the responsibility to establish social skills and experiences such as “car rides, traffic, bus stations, movie theaters, restaurants, grocery stores, and all the typical experiences of life”
At the beginning of the book, Sharron had lost a dog and was suffering from CDD (Canine Deficit Disorder) which led her to NEADs to help her get her puppy “fix” since her current life situation wouldn’t allow for a full time dog of her own. When Sharron gets her first puppy in the program, I was skeptical about the NEADs vetting process for weekend puppy raisers because Sharron did not seem prepared for the task. Fortunately, with a good support system, you will see that not only does Sharron become a good trainer, but she also learns a lot about herself and her relationships within her family. In particular, how important observation and empathy can be. Throughout the book, Sharron shares colorful stories about her training adventures – both successes and areas for improvement – as well as her angst about prisons and her inmate puppy raiser partner. She charts her way through both life and puppy training obstacles, understanding the pivotal role she plays. After over a year of training and bonding, the critical evaluation of the pup arrives, to see if it is ready to graduate and be placed with a person in need. Typically if the pup does not pass the evaluation, they are offered to the weekend puppy raiser so there is always a place for them. I won’t spoil the ending for you but will allow you to discover for yourself the result of all the “weekends with Daisy”. One thing is for sure, no matter what, everyone who interacted with Daisy has been affected and the world is all the better for it.
A parting note: I am truly amazed and thankful for such wonderful people with the courage, strength, discipline, and passion to help raise a service puppy. Gratitude to you all and to all of the programs and trainers that support you and your success. I’m pretty sure I could not do what you do. Keep up the great work!
Category : Book Reviews