The Suitcase Lady


March 5, 2013, 6:38 pm

I am looking forward to  summer in the libraries with kids and dogs. Yes, dogs! When I visit libraries to present programs for children, a dog is frequently visiting on the same day. “The Reading Dog” is a huge success in children’s rooms across the country.

The dogs don’t read. Kids cuddle up to the dog and read to them. I have no doubt that many children truly believe that the dogs understand every word read to them.

Being a library, book and dog lover, I think The Reading Dog idea is inspired. A shy or poor reader gains confidence, skill and practice in reading. The dog gets the undivided attention of a child….and sometimes a small snooze.

Reading Education Assistance Dogs started in 1999. Studies show that these registered therapy dogs can improve the literacy skills of children. The qualities of a good R.E.A.D. therapy animal are listed in the R.E.A.D. Manual. Among them are “calm, quiet, obedient, tolerant of chaotic environments and exuberant handling and neutral to the presence of toys, crayons, books AND LUNCH REMNANTS IN TRASH CANS.” Obviously, these dogs are special.

I know of no library that has a reading cat. Perhaps because our little felines have been domesticated a mere 5,000 years as opposed to the dogs’ 10,000 years, cats are more wary of  human ideas. This fact did not deter me from having my own reading cat moment.

I recently picked up a lovely coffee table book on the Taj Mahal at a library used book sale. “The perfect book to read to my cat, Taj,” I mused. I believe that he enjoyed each page.


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