Therapy dogs have been coming to the Santa Clarita Public Libraries for many years. These special animals like to listen to children read stories to them, pet them, and talk to them as well! There are many different sizes and breeds of dogs that are part of this wonderful program. Some of the animals that come include: a Chihuahua mix, German Shepherd, Standard Poodle, Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Bearded Collie, Black Russian Terrier, and a Shetland Sheepdog.
There are anywhere from two to four dogs that come to the one hour program. At the Canyon Country Branch the animals and their owners visit from 3:30pm-4:30pm the first and third Thursday of the month. Valencia offers the program the first Saturday of each month from 1:oopm -2:00pm, and at Newhall the third Saturday of the month from 1:30-2:30.
Even if you are afraid of dogs, your fear may disappear after reading and petting these trained and calm animals. I have seen more than one child be afraid to be near the dogs, and somehow they manage to get over their fear and enjoy their time with the dogs. Sharon Rendall, who is a Pet partner instructor/evaluator, once had a little girl who had trouble with saying good-byes. Her new pet pal taught her how to leave without being upset or nervous. She gave the dog a kiss and calmly told him good-bye. Whether you are nervous, autistic, or apprehensive toward approaching a dog, the trained animals and their kind and experienced owners, will make anyone feel at ease.
Another Pet Partner Evaluator and Instructor Sandy Dubin, shared one story of a little girl who could not stop fidgeting. Sandy said that no matter how hard and how many times the little girl’s dad tried to get her to sit still, the girl could just not do it. And what was the solution? Dubin just lay on her back and the girl did the same with a book in her hands. She was quite happy reading that way – and the dog did not care one way or another!
Those children who need to read a certain amount of time for homework may just want to try reading to a dog. What a fun way to get homework done! And, the dogs won’t correct you. There is a time period you have with the dogs and once that is over, then it is time for the next reader. If it is not busy, then you may be allowed to read to the same dog or another one.
Sometimes it may look like the dogs do not care and are sleeping through a story. Perhaps what they are really doing is dreaming about being in the story that is being read to them. When you are free, please stop by any of your local Santa Clarita Library Public Library branches and read in a super fun way. Even if you might be in a hurry, still come by and pet the dogs when someone is not reading to them. They love the attention.No registration is required. However, you may need to sign-up to get a particular time slot scheduled when you arrive.
Give reading to a dog a try! And, feel free to select any non-fiction or fiction book you wish to read!
Here are just some of the books the dogs may enjoy!