Lily is assisted by Mary Jane Maffini aka Victoria Maffini
My name is Lily. I am a seven year old (almost eight!) black and tan miniature dachshund and I can’t wait to go to school every Wednesday. No, no, not puppy school. Real school. People school. You see, I am a volunteer: a R.E.A.D. dog. R.E.A.D. stands for Reading Education Assistance Dog. Really. It does.
That means I go once a week to a lovely school and meet with some very nice children. I have ‘my own’ kids come to see me. I love to snuggle with them and to hear them read to me, one by one. It is my favorite time of the week, although I do like chasing squirrels when I am not in school. I am getting better and better at listening and paying attention to books.
The children are also get better at reading. One of them read twenty-six books to me! Mom kept a record. We gave him a copy of his favorite book: Ten Little Hot Dogs. It’s my favorite too, of course.
Two boys went up a grade level already this year. I miss them, but I really like my new boys too.
Being a R.E.A.D. dog is an important job. I couldn’t walk into a school on my four paws, just like that, you know. First, I had to have a year’s experience with Ottawa Therapy Dogs. We found out about them at www.OttawaTherapyDogs.ca
Next I had to pass a test, even though I had already passed a test to become a therapy dog. The new test took more than two hours! I had to be calm in a school yard situation, not react to bells and loud noises or bouncing balls and be friendly to kids, without jumping up. I had to show how much I liked being with kids and that I was relaxed and not afraid. And I was not allowed to bark. That was pretty hard, but I passed.
Everyone in the school likes me and the people in the office like to pet me. That seems very appropriate to me.
We have Lily stickers to give to the kids after they’ve read with me.
The only bad news: My sister Daisy is so jealous and is always trying to get in on the act. She tries to have a bath too and she hates baths even more than I do. She tries to block the door and trick Mom into taking her too.
Mom’s there with me when I go to school, but really, it’s all about me and my boys and girls. Some little girls in our neighborhood practiced reading with me when I was studying for my Big Test. That was fun and it really helped.
So, soon I’ll be having a bath (don’t like that much), a manicure (ditto) and an anti-dander treatment (Mom says it’s necessary and stop squirming). Then I’ll put on my lovely red Ottawa Therapy Dog scarf and my beautiful red R.E.A.D, medallion and I’ll get in the car with my special blanket and our bag of books. I can’t wait.
No, Daisy. You CAN’T come. You’ll have to pass the test yourself. Go find some kids and practice reading and NOT barking.
Love to everyone,
P.S .You can find out lots more about the R.E.A.D. program by checking out www.ireadwithdogs.ca and www.therapyanimals.org Maybe you and your dog would like to be part of this program! You won’t regret it.