When a devastating diagnosis tears author Donnie Kanter Winokur’s family apart, an FASD service dog may be their best hope to stay together.
Donnie Kanter Winokur and her husband, Harvey, never could have imagined the heart-wrenching struggle that becomes their new reality after they decide to adopt two infants from Russia. As Iyal and Morasha grow, it becomes clear that Iyal’s development is drastically lagging behind his sister’s. By age four, he has a devastating diagnosis: fetal alcohol syndrome. But naming their battle provides little relief as Iyal and his family try to cope with the lifelong impact of his invisible disability. As the Winokurs’ marriage unravels, Donnie and Harvey hang on to the last shreds of their promise—and the unimaginable thought of an FASD Service Dog.
Can an FASD Service Dog help? What is FASD? Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is an umbrella term describing a range of effects that can occur in an individual exposed to alcohol during pregnancy. FAS is fetal alcohol syndrome, a diagnosis under the umbrella of FASD. According to experts at the CDC, 1 in 20 school-age children are born with an FASD. This is a staggering statistic and a public health crisis.
Here’s what people are saying about Chancer – How One Good Boy Saved Another
“The story of how Chancer helped the Winokurs and their son heal and grow closer is poignant and heartwarming. But what makes the book especially important is the frank way the author illuminates an underdiscussed disorder that affects as many as one child in twenty in the United States. An honest, informative, and uplifting memoir.” —Kirkus Reviews
“While Chancer cannot cure Iyal, his presence mitigates the disability and provides unconditional love. VERDICT With few personal narratives about children with FAS, this unique and candid memoir will be a helpful contribution.” —Library Journal
“Just as dogs lead soldiers safely across bomb-laden battlegrounds, the stalwart and brave Chancer leads his boy through daunting battles with fetal alcohol syndrome — saving not just the boy, but his entire family. An absorbing, hopeful memoir full of unlikely heroes.”
—Maria Goodavage, author, of New York Times bestsellers Soldier Dogs, Top Dog, and Secret Service Dogs
“What a story! What a dog! Winokur’s memoir is a testament to the power of love, family, and friendship.”
—Jennifer S. Holland, author of the New York Times bestselling series Unlikely Friendships
“This is a heartwarming story of a childless couple who adopted two babies from Russia…Along the way, the story also shines a light on FAS, an under-discussed disorder. This new memoir is both illuminating and poignant.” —The Bark
“Here, in a courageous and tenderly told mother’s memoir, is the inside story of parents who brought home their darling dream child from a Russian orphanage. In time—though still their precious, cherished child—the boy exhibited severe and irreversible cognitive and behavioral disabilities. In despair, in free fall, the parents grabbed for a lifeline. When the lifeline turned out to be attached to a shaggy four-legged big-hearted golden retriever, their life took an irreversible turn for the better.”
—Melissa Fay Greene, author of The Underdogs: Children, Dogs, and the Power of Unconditional Love
“Dogs have an amazing ability to help heal severe emotional pain in the entire family.”
— Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make us Human