Today, at the library, we had a small group come in to talk about a service dog program where dogs are brought into a school or library to be read to by children. A golden retriever, Jake, and a border terrier, Tate, came with their trainers and were nearly loved to death by all who attended.
The specially trained dogs sit next to the child. Some know to "look" at the book when a child points out a picture. The dogs listen, but they do not judge. They sit patiently and do not make fun of the child who misses a word. Their trainers try not to intrude, but they may say something like, "Could you repeat that word again, I don't think Jake understood it."
The dogs wear a bandanna or a vest which means they are on duty. The organization that visited our library, New England Pet Partners, can bring along a hypoallergenic dog if there are allergy problems!
Not only do the dogs participate in the reading program, they also visit nursing homes, cancer wards, and other places where their love and patience is needed.
It is a fabulous program, and if you'd like to find a program near you, visit the Delta Society website.