Dogs can do a lot of things. Sniff. Snooze. Snuggle.
But can dogs help children to read?
Yes, they can! And our local libraries make it as easy as A-B-C!
One day each month, many of our libraries welcome a canine visitor and their ‘person’ to the children’s section. Usually, a small group of children can be seen milling around in eager anticipation of this four-legged friend who they’ve come to know.
For example, at Pasadena Hastings Ranch Library, the free program is called ‘Barks and Books’. Sponsored by the Pasadena Humane Society, on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 3:30 pm, your child can read to a furry friend.
Seen here, Smokey is a therapy dog that arrives monthly. No one need register ahead of time. In fact, your child can visit and watch from afar to see what it’s all about. Perhaps one day, they may volunteer to read a page to Smokey too!
A whole world opens up to a child once they learn to read. But getting there can be a challenge. It takes plenty of practice, and a non-judgmental listener.
That is where the dogs come in. Just look at what a great listener Smokey is! The little girl has his full attention!
A pre-selection of animal-related short stories are available to choose from. The curated books can help children understand that animals experience a range of emotions similar to their own. And that they have basic needs much like those of humans. This, in turn, encourages them to appreciate the importance of treating all animals, nonhuman and human, with respect and kindness.
Smokey will not correct ‘mistakes’. He will not get impatient. He has no expectations. And he will certainly never get bored. A perfect recipe for reading success!
These are the library locations and scheduled dates for reading to a furry friend. We just may see you there!
A note about Smokey – This is one of the sweetest pitbulls I have ever met, and I have met many. Smokey was found as a puppy in a dumpster by his forever person, pictured above. His foot was completely mangled, likely the cause of a dog attack. She considerately keeps his foot wrapped, to avoid startling the children. This sweet boy shines a light on everyone around him, I believe appreciating every moment of his wonderful life. We love you, Smokey xoxo