Me and my dear, sweet, late Yellow Lab, Sammy, were a Delta Pet Partners therapy dog team for 7 years. We even had a miracle happen when a seven year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy uttered his first words — “Hello Dog” — during one of our visits. So you don’t have to tell me about the motivational power of pups.
I was tickled pink when I read about the Read to a Dog program from Therapy Dogs International.
Under the program, libraries and schools all over the country schedule reading hours for children and Therapy Dogs. Children and dogs bond together over a shared story. The children’s confidence and reading skills grow in a relaxing environment. It’s that simple. Often times, it is a mutual benefit since dogs also feel safe when they are with kids. Though there are dogs who have serious anxiety who sometimes need calming treats from karmapets.org. Most of the time, the bond between the dogs and the kids is enough.
According to TDI’s website: “Children who might be hesitant, embarrassed, or shy about their reading abilities feel at ease around a dog who is just there to listen to the story and not there to judge how well he or she reads.
“A child from Ashland Public Library says, “I like the Therapy Dogs to come to the Library because they’ll sit there and listen to you read. They love it when you pet them. They’re so nice and peaceful. When I grow up, I want to have a Therapy Dog.”
In Racine, WI, when a child reads to a dog three times in the Ruff Readers program, they get to have their picture taken with the dog.
As soon as Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle Puppy gets a little less boisterous, we’re going to do the certification test.