Zoe the Therapy Dog
Dogs do so many jobs in today's world. In a lot of ways this is great for both dogs and for people. Dog's that do something they enjoy and have purposeful lives seem more content and happy. And most dog jobs bring great joy to the people these dogs encounter. I just read a great story from someone whose dog works to make others happy.
Judy Grumbling in Southside, West Virginia writes to tell about the important work that her dog Zoe does. Zoe is a rottweiler who went through training and a great deal of testing to receive the title of "therapy dog." She also has a Canine Good Citizen certificate. However, the therapy that she does is really quite different than most work that therapy dogs do.
The R.E.A.D. (Read Education Assistance Dogs) program helps children work on their reading skills. It may sound silly, but children read aloud to dogs. And it works! Children who are slow readers are embarrassed to read aloud in front of peers who may ridicule them. Reading shouldn't be stressful. It should be fun! And who knows better about fun and how to be an attentive pal than a dog? This is where Zoe comes in.
Zoe sits quietly and listens while children read to her. With Zoe's unwavering attention, the children feel she is soaking up every word. Judy writes that she and Zoe have been doing this work for three years and to date 130 children have moved up in reading levels under Zoe's watchful gaze. Instead of feeling like outcasts, the children feel like they are given special treatment with a dog for a friend.
Judy has watched many shy children go from low slow embarrassed reading to excited participation. She feels that Zoe has opened a door for many children who have gone from hating to read to loving to read books. Judy is proud to have such an amazing companion who does such wonderful work.
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