Interview with co-authors, Connor Quinn and Mary Cortani

Four Paws, Two Feet, One Team

Four Paws, Two Feet, One Team written by Connor Quinn and Mary Cortani and illustrated by Susan Szecsi is a picture book about a rescue puppy named Dakota that grows up to a service dog. After being found in a field, she is rescued by Mary Cortani, who runs an organization called Operation Freedom Paws. Dakota trains to be a service dog throughout the book and then gets matched with his forever person, a veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Both Dakota and his owner learn from each other and provide support for each other through difficult situations. 

This picture book teaches the reader a growth mindset with important lessons of perseverance and overcome obstacles. When reading this stop your child will learn about service dogs, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and celebrating the achievements of both veterans and their service dogs. Throughout the book, the reader learns the etiquette of how to approach a service dog, their uniform and much more. Additionally, Four Paws, Two Feet, contains valuable information about the types of service dogs, requirements of service dogs and what tasks a service dog provides for their owner.

Four Paws, Two Feet, One Team

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Co-Authors Connor Quinn and Mary Cortani

Connor Quinn is a veteran, having served nine years in the Army as a Combat Medic with two tours to Afghanistan. He holds an Associates Degree in Spanish from Gavilan College and a Bachelors’ degree in Health Science from San Jose State University. In 2018, he took a job as a kennel technician at Operation Freedom Paws. He became inspired to write Four Paws, Two Feet, One Team after witnessing the incredible transformation of the veteran’s and the dogs in the program.

Mary Cortani served in the U.S. Army from 1975-1984 as a Certified Army Master of Canine Education instructor with over forty years of experience as a dog trainer. She is the founder and executive director of Operation Freedom Paws in San Martin, California. Her work with Operation Freedom Paws has garnered a Top 10 CNN Hero Award, Central Coast Jefferson Award, and the love and admiration of everyone she has empowered to restore their freedom to live life. 

To learn more about Operation Freedom Paws, visit the website here.

To watch a short video about Operation Freedom Paws, watch the inspirational video below!


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