Monday, November 7, 2016

Is Maggie A Therapy Dog?

I love being part of the literacy program. What better way to encourage a child to read by having an understanding dog at your side. Especially one who isn’t judge-mental, one who is encouraging, and of course one who is nice and fluffy. Maggie and I visited a special needs elementary school this past week. This school has different levels of functioning students. The session started with some non-readers who were accompanied by their aides. They were a rather active group. When this happens my radar goes up and I go into protective mode. Protective mode that is for Maggie. Although we discuss with the kids the proper way to handle the animals the information doesn’t always sink in. But a shout out to the aides for doing a wonderful job! They maintained their students properly and the session went well. Towards the end of the hour we had a higher functioning group, one that reads books. Some of the students remembered Maggie from last year and I noticed that most of the kids had grown since last year. So, why am I commenting on this group? After one of the students finished reading his book, he was petting Maggie. He looked at her tags. Maggie has two tags attached to her collar. One is her name and contact info in case she gets lost, and the other tag is the name or our organization, “Pals For Life”. The other side says “I Am A Therapy Dog”. When this young student read this he looked at me and said “Maggie is a therapy dog?” I was taken aback for a quick second and then I responded, “Yes, I take her to hospitals and nursing homes to visit with sick people to help them feel better.” “Cool,” he said and continued to pet Maggie. I never stopped to think what goes through these kids minds when the dogs come to their school and I never stopped to think what the school tells the kids. But now when I think about it I assume the school tells them the dogs (and rabbit) are coming to hear you read. The kids take it at face value. But I can assure you the next time Maggie and I visit this school I will be sure to ask. And of course as usual since she is so chill, Maggie just goes with the flow and is happy to get some love!

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