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Encounters with Rikki: From Hurricane Katrina Rescue to Exceptional Therapy Dog

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Encounters with Rikki tells the true story of the incredible partnership between Chuck and Rikki, a very special rescue dog. Rikki first found her home with Chuck and Patty Mitchell in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Even though the golden retriever was a shy, shell-shocked puppy still adapting to the stress of displacement, Chuck recognized her innate abilities as a t ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Inkshares
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Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
ENCOUNTERS WITH RIKKI by Julie Bettinger is a fast read, which my children's rights attorney hubby has taken from me to add to his high pile of juvenile justice books. It is highly recommended.

By walking in the pawsteps of therapy canine Rikki Mitchell, ENCOUNTERS is a charming & alarming peek into the world of prosecution of sexual offenders against children. At the same time it is also a less-tense visit with the array of other ways that therapy animals - cats, too! - visit physical rehabilita
Lisa LazarusBrown
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Being an animal lover, I feel the connection that can take place between humans and animals...but knowing the exact moment when those connections are being made and being able to describe that for others is so unique. Julie, Chuck, Patty and or course Rikki have given us those moments of connection in pristine detail. Along with the individuals whose lives have been positively altered by their presence, they have shown us a new gift when looking into the eyes of an animal. We may all watch the a ...more
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
My expectations / hopes were too high? Probably. Nevertheless, even if it weren't too late to adjust them downward, the rating I gave Encounters with Rikki wouldn't move upward. I was, at times, moved by the stories, not by the storytelling. The abundant details give it -- uh -- give it what? Ah, yes, unnecessary words. Bettinger refers to her work as "literary journalism." And it is journalistic. But when I think about Encounters with Rikki, the word literary doesn't come to mind. ...more
Kris Matson
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Who could ever have imagined that along with the thousands of frightened, trapped, lost and displaced animals that one special puppy would emerge from Hurricane Katrina. So special that this extraordinary, beautifully written book about rescue and recovery not only tells her story but the story of Chuck and Patty Mitchell and their experiences with Rikki the golden retriever. Chuck, who took over her training, found very early on that Rikki could read body language, respond to humans with empath
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a heartwarming read...
Dan Cojanu
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a founder of a similar program in Michigan, I have had many of the same situations described in this book. I have always struggled trying to describe the interaction between these dogs and abused children when they enter the criminal justice system. "Encounters with Rikki" makes this interaction crystal clear. Anyone who is curious about what these dogs are capable of as well as people involved in the criminal justice system should pick this up. You won't put it down. ...more
Bobbie Barnett
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book about a Katrina rescue dog who with the love, care and training Mitchell, her forever “parents”, becomes a therapy dog who changes the lives of those who need her most, whether it is an abused child, a person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, someone who is mentally challenged. A must read!
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book chronicling a therapy dog's path from rescued to rescuer. This book is a must read for anyone using therapy animals in judicial really captures the essence of what we do. I highly recommend it for anyone working in the court system or anyone doing animal therapy work. It's a very moving story of the human-animal bond and it's role in the healing process of traumatized people. ...more
Aleah Lodge
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book captures the way in which animals can be used to bring healing in a way other people can’t. We hold the other end of the leash because we know the work the animal is doing, is more than we ever could. This book encompasses what it is like to be on that other end of the leash and the blessings that come.
A.E. Howe
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great book about a an amazing dog. I have to confess that I know Rikki. She was best friends with my Great Dane Grendel. And while Grendel was a good therapy dog he had nothing on Rikki. If you want to know the power of the therapy dog program read this book. Rikki has touched and changed many lives.
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-blue-giraffe
This is a beautiful story of an incredibly special dog. It is extremely well written. I highly recommend it.
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
quick read. interesting to learn about therapy dogs in the court room and the back story of rikki. however got bored sometimes.
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent but highly emotional story about the effects of therapy dogs on their target audiences and one particular dog, Rikki a diminutive red golden retriever. If you enjoyed "Dewey the Library Cat", you will love Rikki. There is no teary ending for the lovable pooch but be sure to bring your hankie just the same. Rikki starts out as a rehabilitation therapy dog with some remarkable results. She then begins moonlighting as READ dog whose purpose is to listen non-judgmentally to youn ...more
J.D. Porter
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a powerful story about Rikki, a female golden retriever with instincts for helping people that border on the miraculous. The reader should be forewarned by the Author’s Note that warns of “serious, adult content related to sex crimes against children”. Some sections are, indeed, difficult to read, but they serve to emphasize the importance of the work these therapy dogs do. Further evidence is offered by the testimony of a traumatic brain injury patient whose encounter with Rikki br ...more
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through goodreads giveaway- thank you Julie Bettinger! The only thing wrong with this book is that it wasn't long enough!! A Hurricane Katrina rescue puppy went from being rescued to rescuing over 500 children and adults from various obstacles in life. It's truly amazing what a dog can do for those in need and this book defines just that. Rikki, the amazing therapy dog in this book reminds me so much of my sweet golden, O'Malley. The have hearts of pure gold and have the sweetest ...more
Melinda M
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Encounters with Rikki: From Hurricane Katrina to Exceptional Therapy Dog by Julie Strauss Bettinger is a wonderful story. It is full of hope and encouragement. It is a journay many can understand even if this story is about a dog, Rikki who founds love and a purpose which all living creatures need. Being rescued to being one of the one doing the rescuing is an amazing story line. It is a story that captures you. Do not think that is is going to be a book that you can put down and forget. A must ...more
Wanda Wright
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won this book through goodreads and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about till I and so many ways he helped people through difficult situations, whether adult or child. This book was so much more than just a dog rescue book. I was brought to tears several times when rikki I was used to help Zoe., also Arnold with his different personalities I was amazed at how rikki was able to bring a calmness to those who has been hurt so bad, or unable to communicate with anyone. I hope there are more therapy ...more
Joseph Pankowski
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Without any doubt, this is one book that is difficult to "put down." We've all heard that phrase before, but it is absolutely true for this true story of "Rikki," and all those who have been helped by this remarkable therapy dog and the animal-assisted therapy team who works with her. This account is far more than a story of an animal, for we learn how victims of crime are helped along the path to healing by a loving touch of a paw or nose. Having been a member of an active book club for many ye ...more
Laurie Dozier
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In Encounters With Rikki, Julie Bettinger has woven multiple stories into a single compelling tale that educates and excites the reader in so many ways. Over the years Chuck had shared each of these episodes, often as they were in progress, but as Julie so brilliantly captured and reported them, I realized, in the end, that I've been witnessing a remarkable love story.

Laurie Dozier, President Mad Dog Construction (succeeded Chuck in 1993)
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book - I kept getting lost in the story and that is good! I actually become withdrawn from the "real world" following Rikki's story. Out of such sadness and destruction came an amazing dog - Rikki. Chuck and Patti brought her safety, love, and confidence and she in turn brought others safety, love and confidence. I was enjoying the book so much I hated to see it end. It was too short but it enabled me to continue their work in my mind. ...more
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having two current Golden retriever Therapy dogs (and lost 3 golden therapy dogs), I am thoroughly connected to this story and understand how intuitive Therapy dogs can be. We have experienced many incredible experiences, and I am thrilled to hear how they are opening doors for more opportunities more Therapy dogs.
Ann Guy
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I loved this book made me laugh and cry god bless Rikki
Pat Arnold
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a special book. I have seen the READ program in action and know how valuable it is. What wonderful stories of Rikki helping such hurting people.
I highly recommend this book.
Doris Geohagan
rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2016
rated it really liked it
Jun 24, 2016
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Jul 19, 2021
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Mar 05, 2016
Jeanne Beauchemin
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Dec 20, 2019
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