This book is a tribute to puppy raisers and their puppies. A Priceless Gift features Steven Harlan, who shares his experiences with Carmine, a Yellow Lab. A puppy raiser spends 24 hours a day seven days a week with a puppy. It can take up to 22 months to complete a puppy's basic training; then the puppy gets specialized training before being matched with an individual with a disability. As either a service dog, a guide dog or a social dog, these animals bring independence to a disabled person which truly is a priceless gift.
Betty Jean Pearson taught children with disabilities for 23 years as she struggled with her own physical disability, rheumatoid arthritis. Now she also suffers with fibromyalgia and macular degeneration. She is a certified educational diagnostician, and a special education teacher. LaDee, a service dog, came to live with Betty in 1994. With LaDee's help, she continued teaching far beyond her expectations. Although Betty retired from full-time teaching, she continues to substitute in grades K-12. Outside of teaching, Betty enjoys many activities; serving on boards for abused and neglected children, in officer positions, or as a participating member for various organizations. She is an avid reader, a long time member of a book group, and participates in an on-line writers' group. For exercise Betty enjoys golfing with a ladies golf group. Traveling is a passion of Betty's, especially with the International Friendship Force, a group formed in 1977 to help create bridges with other cultures through introducing people at a personal level. Her first trip with this group was to Brazil in 2004. Since then her travels include Canada, Turkey, Kazakhstan and several European countries. She has also hosted people from Russia, Azerbaijan and New York in her home. Betty has authored one picture book about her first service dog, LaDee, several poems published in local literary volumes and as a free-lance writer, an essay on a conversation with her mother, and an article on restaurant dining experiences with her service dog at her side. Activities and achievements aside, Betty is most proud of her two children, Julie Keown Bomar and Timothy Keown, and her grandchildren Hailey Keown Bomar, and Maia Keown Bomar.