Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

The Best Book We’ve Read All Year?


Wonder Dogs

True Stories of Extraordinary Assistance Dogs

By Maureen Maurer with Jenna Benton

Publisher: Revell, 2021

Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational, Dogs

Pages: 229

Via: Author Request

“Mom! Mom!” hollers I, Kimber the Magnificent. “Can I invite some friends over for a sleepover??!! They’re these Seriously PAWsome dogs from Assistance Dogs of Hawaii. They’re my new BFFs! There’s only a couple hundred or so. Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Um… Mom…?”

“She’s keeled over. So maybe I better tell you about how I met my new BFFs. Like when Mom and I recently read Wonder Dogs: True Stories of Extraordinary Assistance Dogs.”

First Things First

We absolutely loved this book. It’s easily one of the top five we’ve read all year. Yes, we’re suckers for “dog books.” But Wonder Dogs is truly bark-worthy. In fact, it’s extraordinary. (Besides. Who can resist that cover, right?) Here’s more:

The Beginning…

At the beginning of her quest to establish a training center for assistance dogs in Hawaii, author Maureen “Mo” Maurer comes up with ten rules about what kind of dogs she’ll train, how the screening process works, etc. Then the book describes how those rules went right out the kennel as each incredible dog re-writes the book on “dog assistance.”

“Some of my new BFFs” – Kimber.

We’re introduced to a new hero dog and his or her human in each chapter and hear Mom saying, “That is amazing!” With each chapter Mom is sure she’s just read about the Second Most Amazing Dog on the Planet. (Next to me, Kimber, of course.) And just about the time you think one wonder dog is the Most Awesome-est Ever, you meet another one! Arf and double arf! Like:

Tucker, a puppy who visits a young girl who’s in desperate need of a Christmas miracle.

Leader, an abandoned German shepherd mix who becomes a loyal service dog and best friend for a boy with muscular dystrophy.

Freedom, a golden retriever who helps a disabled vet regain her independence. He also saves her when … (you’ll have to get the book for more!)

Pono, a sweet black lab who becomes Hawaii’s first courthouse dog, helping children find the courage to testify in court.

Cuteness overload!


  • “Bilingual” dogs! English and Japanese. I am not making this up.
  • ASL dogs! They learned sign language. Still not making this up.
  • Medical scent detection dogs! They can smell bacterial infections. Still not… oh, never mind.

Kimber: Hey, it’s me! And you know these assistance dogs are extra cool because I’m telling you they are. Did I mention they’re my new BFFs! And that Mom is gonna let us have a sleepover? Did I? Did I? Huh? Huh?

Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. The book:


Wonder Dogs draws you in from page one, propelling you into each life-changing story with top-notch writing that radiates warmth and winsomeness. Bathed in hope, courage, and faith, the narration moves quickly, with pitch-perfect pacing. It also includes great depth and transparency as the author interweaves her personal story with those of her clients and their amazing canines.

Each chapter is headed by an inspirational quote from a wide variety of sources (including one of Mom’s personal faves, Charles Swindoll). Chapters also include a black and white photo of each subject dog.

Additionally, Wonder Dogs is educational and informative, providing readers a “bird’s eye view” of what it takes to select and train these amazing animals and match them with the right client.

Inspiring, heartwarming and uplifting, Wonder Dogs is just plain PAWsome! It’ll make you want to stand and up and cheer! We did! 

Better Than Bacon??!!

Finally, we can’t put into words how much we loved this book! You know that feeling when you chow down on a nice piece of crispy bacon? How your mouth goes all smiley and your whole body wants to break out its happy dance? That’s how we feel about Wonder Dogs. I’d grab a copy now ‘fize you.

As for that doggie sleepover? Can I get back to you on that?

Via the book:

“Assistance Dogs of Hawaii is a multifaceted assistance dog program that has graduated over 130 reams including service dogs, hospital dogs, and courthouse dogs who daily make a daily difference in the lives of their partners and those they serve.

Our Rating: 5.0+

For more information:

Assistance Dogs of Hawaii

ADH on Facebook

On Instagram

2 thoughts on “The Best Book We’ve Read All Year?

  1. I love dogs, and books about dogs, so I just added this to my TBR!

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