Lucky dogs listen as kids read

Jasmine Shepard, 10, reads to Duncan, the Sheltie.  - Connie Maers/Staff Photo
Jasmine Shepard, 10, reads to Duncan, the Sheltie.
— image credit: Connie Maers/Staff Photo

Cute alert.

Faero, the hunky, lumbering Newfoundland showers Amelia Bray, 3, with kisses as she settles in to a side room in the children’s section of the Bainbridge Library. She endures the lick-fest, giggles a little, then commands, “Sit, dog” with oversized confidence. And he does.

Amelia, and 27 other kids, signed up at the Bainbridge Library for the chance to Read to a Dog Monday.

And not just any dog. Both Duncan, the Sheltie, and Faero are Delta Society-trained therapy dogs, whose patience and literary grasp are the stuff of legends. OK, fairy tales.

The kids get to choose which dog they read to, and some were taken aback by the Newfoundland’s size.

“Duncan is a good gateway dog,” Youth Services Librarian Carmine Rau said of the gentle Sheltie. “Kids see him as a smaller version of Lassie.”

The kids get to choose the story, too. The books, dog-eared and dog-themed, are selected from a basket of titles offered at the door.

Elizabeth Hambleton, 10, read “kind of a long book,” to Faero, who seemed to grasp some of the more subtle nuances of “Big Dog and Little Dog.”

Aiden Chang-Lee, 8, wearing his Ordway shirt, read “How to Train Your Dragon.”

The program started about five years ago, aimed at encouraging “emerging readers,” Rau said. It is offered twice a year when school is on break.

Young readers will have another chance to Read to a Dog at the library. Sign ups begin at 10 a.m. Monday for 10-minute slots from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

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