Roswell Author Donnie Karen Winokur's Memoir

Local Roswell Author Donnie Karen Winokur will present her memoir, Chancer-How One Good Boy Saved Another, with special guest Quinn, their service dog at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) at 10am on Nov. 16th.

In her inspiring and heartwarming memoir CHANCER: How One Good Boy Saved Another, Donnie Kanter Winokur shares the intimate story of how a golden retriever saved her family, bringing love and support to all of them – but most especially, her mentally challenged son. Five years ago, The New York Times Magazine featured Winokur’s endearing and transformational journey in “Wonder Dog”, becoming one of the top ten stories in 2012. Now for the first time, with raw honesty and unexpected humor, she is sharing the whole story.

Upon making the decision to adopt two infants from Russia, Donnie and her husband Harvey set out on a path that would lead them through both the greatest joy and deepest struggle of their lives. As Iyal and Morasha grow, it becomes clear that their son’s development is drastically behind his sister’s. Iyal is overwhelmed by the smallest tasks. Unable to focus, challenged by bizarre behaviors, Iyal’s hyperactive mind and constant need for attention could not easily be quelled. At the age of four, a diagnosis is given: fetal alcohol syndrome, a life-long disability.

Though the diagnosis offers a name, the treatment is difficult to define and far from alleviates Iyal’s internal struggle and constant rages. As the family future hangs in the balance, Donnie comes up with an innovative, untested, four-pawed solution: a golden retriever service dog named Chancer. Specially trained to give Iyal the unique love he desperately craves, Chancer turns out to be what the entire family needed to stay—and grow—together.

Winokur travels internationally and speaks about the benefits that service dogs provide individuals living with developmental disabilities through her company, FASD Empowered. For over 25 years, she has worked with nonprofits developing educational programs as well as producing and writing in many arenas.