About 11 years ago, DeeAnn "Nan" Walton was working with a search and rescue dog that found a missing child. She wrote about the experience and soon started collecting stories from others who handled working dogs.
The Bountiful resident and mother of five recently compiled the collection of 29 stories 28 from Utah into "Partners: Everyday working dogs being heroes every day." The firsthand stories tell of working dogs who use their senses in extraordinary situations.
One example is Holly, the cocker spaniel that helped a physically abused child who refused to talk or eat; another is Libo, the guide dog that helped provide his Utah owner the confidence he needed to become a public speaker and wrestling coach. The book also takes a look at search and rescue dogs, K-9 law-enforcement partners and scent-detection specialists.
Walton said she has a unique understanding of dog behavior after nearly 20 years of field experience working with the four-legged animals. During that time she worked in search and rescue, forensic crime scene recovery, narcotics detection and therapy situations. With a federal and state DEA license, she also was the owner of a business that provided a certified dog for drug detection.
Through the book, she hopes to draw attention to the life-saving and heroic qualities that all dogs are born with.
"They are an animal that is born with the need to be in a pack," she said during a recent telephone interview. "When people make them part of their families, that need is now satisfied by their human family."
The book, which costs $24, was published by Hubble and Hattie, which produces a range of books about animals, specifically dogs. Walton plans to give a portion of the proceeds from each book to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. It is available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.