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New book (and soon-to-be movie?) tells the stories of Hawaii’s ‘Wonder Dogs’

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:44 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:48 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maureen Maurer and her husband started Assistance Dogs of Hawaii two decades ago, after she had a serious health scare.

“At that time I was told that I might only have six months to live. It really was a wake-up call for me,” she said.

She sold her CPA practice and founded the non-profit that has grown beyond her wildest dreams. It has trained over 200 canines to be companions for children and adults with disabilities.

“With the help of their assistance dogs, they’ve been able to overcome incredible challenges and live life to the fullest,” Maurer said.

She put 16 of those stories into a new book called “Wonder Dogs: True Stories of Extraordinary Assistance Dogs.” It took two years to write. The hard part was deciding which stories to tell.

The obvious choice for a chapter was Tucker, her most recognizable wonder dog.

“He’s on the cover. The first chapter is about him and the Christmas day that my husband and I took him to visit the children at Kapiolani, and how we realized that that was going to be his calling,” she said.

Her dogs have worked at Kapiolani Medical Center, the Queen’s Medical Center, and the city Prosecutor’s Office. Their calming presence has soothed thousands of Hawaii residents. Her animals have even saved lives.

“This book is all about that incredible bond between people and dogs,” Maurer said.

“Wonder Dogs” is one of Amazon’s top new releases and it’s also sold in stores. Now a production company is talking about turning it into a movie.

“I’m just so excited to share all these stories of the graduates, and hope that they can inspire people who are facing challenges of their own,” she said.

Assistance Dogs of Hawaii has grown beyond Hawaii’s borders. A sister setup in Seattle is called Assistance Dogs Northwest. So there will be many more stories for Maurer to tell.

Maybe she’ll write a sequel about her amazing animals.

“I had always wanted to train dogs to help people.” she said.

Maurer is about to embark on a book-signing tour on the mainland West Coast. She hopes to do the same in Hawaii.

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