Jennifer Arnold, who has trained service dogs for the past 20 years for people with physical disabilities, offers a window into the world of "man's best friend."
Arnold, who believes that dogs are attuned to their owner's needs and emotions, shares tips she thinks every dog owner should know.
Read an excerpt of the book below, and then head to the "Good Morning America" Library to find more good reads.
The request to see Dr. Nick, as the children called him, came early on a Monday. An eight-year-old boy in Phoenix had fallen off his skateboard and was clinging to life. Dr. Nick, with his old black medical bag, was on the next flight from Atlanta to Phoenix. It was my privilege to accompany him on this trip, as I had on many trips in the past. It was an experience that profoundly changed the way I understood the emotional life of dogs.
Because Nick had been trained as a service dog, he had legal access to places other dogs could not go. So, while the child's own dog was not permitted in the Phoenix hospital, Nick was welcomed. He was there on a mission so tragic it still hurts to this day. He was there to help this precious little boy die.
The child had no brain function. His stricken parents knew it was time to allow the life- sustaining machines to be turned off. The boy loved his parents mightily, but his best friend on earth was his dog. Because his dog was not allowed to be with him as he died, his parents had asked for Nick.
As soon as Nick entered the hospital room, he dropped his bag, carefully maneuvered himself around the tubes and wires, and jumped gently up onto the bed to lie quietly against the boy's side. I never gave him any direction; Nick just did what he instinctively knew to do. He stayed on the bed without moving for more than two and a half hours. Sometime during that afternoon, the boy's mother asked those of us in the room if we had put her son's arm around Nick. We told her that we had not, but indeed the child's left arm was now draped loosely across Nick's big neck. Nick had nuzzled himself there. When the child was pronounced dead, his devastated mother broke. Her wail was unlike any noise I had ever heard. Without even seeming to displace the sweet little arm across him, Nick managed in one move to fling himself into the mother's arms. Together they stayed huddled, as if on a life raft, until the mother was led into an empty room nearby.
The nurses thanked Nick and me for coming and told us we were free to leave. In something much like shock, I stumbled to the elevator with Nick walking proudly beside me. I can remember being relieved to see that he had made it through the ordeal without too much visible trauma. But as soon as the elevator doors closed and the two of us were alone, Nick collapsed to the floor with a moan. He remained there as the elevator doors opened into the lobby. No amount of encouragement or bribery made him move. He did not look at me but rather through me, with glassy, vacant eyes. I started to worry.