Seven Days to Goodbye
A Trina Ryan Novel #1
by Sheri Levy Genre: YA Coming of Age Fiction
After Trina’s beloved dog dies, she swears she’ll never get another one. But then she learns about service dogs, and realizes that if she becomes a puppy raiser, she could train puppy after puppy and never worry about them dying. But like all great ideas, this one has a serious flaw: her first service puppy must be returned to his kennel at the end of their week-long summer vacation. And saying goodbye to Sydney is going to be much tougher than she ever imagined.
Trina’s last week with Sydney is made that much harder by her newly strained friendship with her best friend, Sarah, who’s become so over-the-top boy crazy that she’s almost like a stranger. Sarah is determined to have them hang out with every boy at the beach, but when a boy named Chase takes an interest in Sydney and Trina, it puts an even bigger strain on the friendship.
It’s hard enough to deal with losing Sydney, but now she may lose her best friend, too. And even if she manages to patch things up with Sarah—and figures out what to do about Chase—she still must face a daunting decision: is she strong enough to take on another service puppy?
“Author Sheri S. Levy deftly taps adolescent themes of love, loss and friendship through the added lens of a service dog’s life-changing effects on her young trainer. A fresh twist on the familiar coming-of-age tale. Well done!” — Jennifer Leeper, author, Padre: The Narrowing Path
“Trina’s foray into the world of boys, friendship, and fashion while focusing on the important task of training service dogs strikes just the right balance. This canine-inspired coming-of-age tale is a poignant but fun summertime story.” — Val Muller, author, the Corgi Capers series and The Scarred Letter
We climbed over the jetty. The dogs used their four-legged drive and moved much faster than Sarah or me. When we reached the top of the mound, Sydney stood a distance away with his Frisbee at his feet, leaning close to a small boy. The boy continued to pat the sand in his bucket and turn it upside down, making a row of mounds.
My heart did a triple beat in quarter time. I started running. Sydney’s stub wiggled and jiggled as soon as the boy’s sandy hands rubbed his back.
“I’m sorry,” I said, running ahead. I bent, face to face with the boy. “I hope he didn’t scare you.”
The boy never looked at me, only at Sydney and back to the sand. He said in a monotone voice, “Doggy, doggy.”
Sarah meandered up to us. I panted in fast spurts. Worried about the boy and Sydney, I never noticed the rest of the group. A little way from the small boy, two guys around our age worked on a fort, or it could have been a sand castle. The one who seemed to be the oldest stood. He had long legs and was much taller than I expected. Using his hand, he shoved his longish brown bangs out of his eyes.
Oh, Sarah definitely noticed him. She smiled, pushed loose hair back into her braid, and pulled her bathing suit in place.
I rolled my eyes. Okay. Here she goes.
Starting Over A Trina Ryan Novel #2
Trina Ryan’s challenging summer starts off with a puppy-fueled energy burst as she takes on another service dog for training—an eight-week-old black Labrador named Colton. And to help explore another dream, she’s taken a job at the barn next door in exchange for riding lessons with the barn’s schooling horse. Before long, Trina butts heads with Morgan Hart, an ill-tempered but skilled rider with a gorgeous thoroughbred named Knight.
Adding to the list of frustrations is the difficulty in maintaining a long-distance relationship with Chase, her first boyfriend from last summer, while trying to deal with unwanted attention from a new boy in her puppy training class. At least best friend Sarah still has her back, but as Trina wearies of Morgan’s constant insults and her heartless treatment of Knight, she decides to use her dog training skills to look underneath Morgan’s hostile attitude and develop a sense of trust.
Slowly, Morgan’s angry shield cracks enough to where she’s able to share a troubling family secret. Can Trina help Morgan confront her family problems and make a fresh start?
“Levy is on sure ground in this enjoyable page-turner for young adults. Readers see the world through the eyes of Trina Ryan, a freckle-faced redhead with a big heart for horses, service dogs, and people in need. Trina learns some of life’s most important lessons: that people are not always what they seem, growing up involves tough choices, and a first crush can be more exciting than she ever dreamed. Poignant, fun, and adventuresome.” — Peggy Jo Shaw, award-winning journalist, PR specialist, and book author/editor
“Starting Over is a book you’ll want to give your daughter. A story about best friends, boyfriends, enemies, and how to handle them all. Throw in horses and puppies, and you have the perfect mix for an entertaining, self-evolving read.” — C. Hope Clark, author, Carolina Slade Mysteries and Edisto Island Mysteries
“How do you help a friend and stay true to yourself? Trina Ryan’s struggles to cope and regroup should ring true for teens. Most people probably never dream so much is involved. Teens who love to read about animals should truly enjoy Starting Over.” — Lisa Williams Kline, author, Eleanor Hill, Princesses of Atlantis, Write Before Your Eyes, and the Sisters in All Seasons series
“There’s a lot going on in Trina’s life, but Levy weaves each thread seamlessly. I especially enjoyed the detail about how to train a service dog, as well as her experience in the barn mucking out stalls, caring for the horses, and learning to ride. A must-read YA novel for anyone who loves dogs and horses.” — Judy Sheluk, author, The Hanged Man’s Noose and Skeletons in the Attic
“Dogs! Horses! Boys! What could be better? An energetic puppy learning to be a service dog, a sweet-tempered horse, an absentee boyfriend, and Trina, the girl who has to make some difficult decisions about all of them. A lovely, thoughtful coming-of-age novel.” — Ellyn Bache, author, Kaleidoscope, The Art of Saying Goodbye, and Safe Passage
Sheri, a California gal, moved to Greenville, SC, & taught special education. Her goal was to instill the love of books. When Sheri retired, her students had created a desire for her to write. She joined SCBWI, & Dog Writers Association. After years of enjoying Edisto Beach with her Aussie and Black Lab, it became the setting for her first YA novel, Seven Days to Goodbye.
Seven Days to Goodbye involves a service dog connecting with a child with autism, girls learning about the importance of friendships and trying to keep theirs intact while flirting with guys for the first time. A loggerhead turtle helps bring the girls together. The story has humor and plenty of puppy love in both varieties. The second book in the series will be, Starting Over.
How did you become involved with Service Dog organizations? Years ago, I decided to write a dog story, but didn’t want to use a pet. After meeting therapy dogs and watching their interactions with children in a classroom or visiting in a hospital, I met a young boy, Hayden, who had a Diabetic Alert service dog. Hayden shared his experience on their training with his organization. After three weeks of intense training together, they qualified as a team and he took his dog home as his life companion.
A friend of mine had learned, Club House Magazine wanted an article on the benefits of young person having a service dog and contacted me. I had already interviewed Hayden and had written my story. I connected with Club House Magazine and, ‘Scent with Love,’ was published, July, 2010.
For the first time, I entered ‘Scent with Love,’ into The Dog Writers of America Association. And it won!
Hayden and I received trophies and I received a cash prize. This gave me confidence to continue writing and I explored the idea of using a service dog in my novel.
I had reached out to Hayden’s organization for more information and found they had disbanded. Unfortunately, four years later, Hayden could no longer attend school with his dog as a companion. The lucky dog had been rescued from a shelter but never had x-rays to see about his hips. This forced me do more research on service dogs and their organizations.
How did you get involved with PAALS, (Palmetto Animal Assisted Living Services)?
Needing more information before I wrote my novel, I called all around the U.S to talk with people involved with service dog organizations. One day I found PAALS. I spoke with the founder, Mrs. Jennifer Rogers, and learned her organization was an hour and a half from where I lived.
I began driving down to watch and took notes on how they trained teens and adults to be Puppy Raisers. After these trainers qualified, the puppies were able to be trained in their homes. I kept notes on the training they used for autism, mobility and PTSD, and interviewed one young puppy raiser. She became my inspiration for my story and main character, Trina Ryan.
The founder of PAALS, Jennifer Rogers, and Mitzie Renick, Developing Coordinator, have helped me use the correct information in my stories.
After seeing the life changing effects of a service dog, I was hooked. It has been a thrill to be involved with a reputable organization and be able to share the dangers of incompetent organizations.
Since PAALS have many puppies, they use a men’s correctional institution to help train some of the puppies Monday through Friday. The puppies go to foster homes over the weekend for socialization. This has been a wonderful chain reaction for the men. A few men have been paroled and have earned a Department of Labor Certificate; an Apprentice Certificate, giving them the opportunity to gain jobs training dogs with PAALS. See www.PAALS.org. for more information.
Through donations, PAALS has grown this organization into an amazing program. A few weeks ago, I attended their biggest fund raiser. I watched in awe as hundreds of supporters donated thousands of dollars. Trained service dogs are given freely to military persons, people working in service jobs, and to other clients with the above issues.
Mrs. Jennifer Rogers has the only ADI accredited program based in South Carolina. She has created a remarkable platform.
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