She and I visit our local library twice a month. Children sign up to come in and read to her. It's a great program and has been proven to help improve literacy rates in children: Research and Results of Reading Education Assistance Dog Programs
Cori loves it. It's funny too because Cori is a somewhat shy dog. She's not a fan of new places (especially new buildings). She's also not a fan of crowds or the hustle and bustle of being out in public. Yet at our local library, in our reading room, with the children, she shines and is in her element. Cori would NOT enjoy visiting a hospital or assisted living facility. Yet, at the library with the children, she's clearly happy and comfortable.
She greets each child as they come in to read to her. She then lays down by them while they read to her. She looks at any pictures in the book when the children show them to her. When the child's session is done, she gets up and walks them to the door. She amazes me with her warm, comfort and enjoyment of these sessions.
In fact, a photo of her with one of her favorite readers was just in our local paper this week: http://www.ledgernews.com/news/top_stories/lending-a-supportive-ear/image_d2c226de-8b1e-11e2-a78a-0019bb30f31a.html
Here's the photo from the little blurb
Once a child has read with Cori 10 times, she gives them a free book to keep and even "pawtographs" it for them. So far, she has had 3 children read 10 times with her and get their "pawtographed" book.
It's a very rewarding experience of working as a team with one of my dogs while helping to ignite the passion to read and to learn in children.
To me, it just goes to show you that there are all kinds of different pet therapy opportunities out there and that different dogs with different personalities can be therapy dogs. You just have to know your dog and know what they like and don't like; where they are comfortable and where they are not. And of course, they have to be naturally friendly and like people.
I want to take a moment to thank Lisa Poole from my greyhound group (Southeastern Greyhound Adoptions) and now CAREing Paws. She is the person who ignited my desire to do pet therapy. I also have to thank Melissa Saul (CAREing Paws) and Merilee Kelley (READing Paws) who helped train and test us as a team. And of course, last but not least, I want to thank the folks at RT Jones Library (namely Emma Ingle, Susan White, Kristina Canoles, Vickie Sellers and Melanie Pullen) who helped establish the program, keep it running smoothly and provide support for us at our library. As you can see, it's an overall team effort--but well worth it!
I also want to thank my girl, Cori who is a special girl. I am so glad she came into my life and enjoys doing pet therapy with me. I am very blessed indeed!