Next Door’s Dog is a Veteran’s Dog is the fourth book about working dogs, written by Gina Dawson to educate children about the roles of Assistance and Therapy Dogs in modern society and the invaluable work they do.
Veteran Joe and his family have moved in next door to Lucas. Dad and Joe are good mates who served in the military together. They both look well and healthy, but Joe is troubled by memories that make him anxious, angry or sad. That’s why he has Poppy, an Assistance Dog, who goes with him everywhere.
When Lucas sees Joe getting off the bus with Poppy by his side, he wants to know more. He listens to Dad but doesn’t really understand how Poppy helps Joe – until he sees it for himself. At a café Lucas looks on while Poppy keeps watch, stays close to Joe, and allows him to relax and enjoy the celebration without worrying about what is happening behind him. That’s when Lucas begins to understand the wonderful work that Poppy does to help Joe to live a full life. He also learns that the way people look does not always tell the whole story.
Next Door’s Dog is a Veteran’s Dog is a sensitively written, unique children’s book with many messages, including educating children about PTSD and anxiety, invisible disability, the work of veterans and first responders, correct behaviour around Assistance Dogs, and most of all, about the unique bond between a man and his dog, and how they look out for each other.
Written in a way that shows compassion and respect, this book is educational and relevant in a time where PTSD, anxiety and mental health issues are becoming more prevalent, particularly in Veterans and First responders.
Part of the Museum's exhibition Dogs of War & Peace open from March 16-July 19, 2022.