For one year, Trina, a puppy raiser, has trained her first service dog, Sydney. At the end of her beach vacation, Sydney must be returned to be complete his final training and be matched to his forever companion. As emotional as this event is, Trina’s newly strained friendship with her best friend, Sarah, makes the week even tougher.
Sarah is so over-the-top boy crazy, she has turned into a stranger. It surprises Trina that Sarah’s flirting isn’t the cause of catching the attention of the two brothers they meet on the beach, but instead it is Sydney’s magical skills with their younger brother with autism. Trina’s confidence builds around the guys with Sydney’s help, and both girls establish a new-kind-of relationship with the older brothers.
Throughout the week, Trina struggles with knowing she is losing Sydney and worries she may also lose her best friend. Sarah realizes Trina’s friendship and the job she is doing with Sydney is extremely important, but holds back any encouragement. She’s hoping Trina will want to spend more time with her.
But in the end, it is Trina’s decision. Will she be strong enough to mend her heart and choose to train another?
This story combines humor, growing pains, and plenty of puppy love — of both varieties.
After 25 years of teaching special education, Sheri S. Levy retired and started writing stories on subjects close to her heart. She needed research on service dogs for her YA novel, Seven Days to Goodbye, and found an accredited, non-profit service dog organization, PAALS. In 2015, her novel, Seven Days to Goodbye, won in the Dog Writers Association of America, (DWAA) in their Special Interest category. This novel is the first in the series and the second book, Starting Over, will be out in 2017. Sheri continues to mentor special needs children, and teaches writing workshops at local schools and libraries.
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This article was featured in Issue 53 – Working Toward The Future