Thursday, April 24, 2014

Special guest: Lily the R.E.A.D. dog!

Please welcome Lily the princess dachshund and R.E.A.D. dog!  

Lily is assisted by Mary Jane Maffini aka Victoria Maffini

Hello Everyone! 

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
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  and  Maybe you and your dog would like to be part of this program! You won’t regret it.


Carol B said...

It sounds great! I don't know if there is anything like this around here, but if I ever have a dog again, I might look into the possibility. Good for you, Lily! (Sorry, Daisy)
lovesdogsandbooks (at) yahoo (dot) com

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

This is such a great idea! I always wondered how they tested/evaluated dogs for the R.E.A.D program. I bet Lily is a big hit with the kids. I'm also wondering why there are no R.E.A.C.'s? (Reading Education Assistance Cats.) Oh wait, I think I figured out the answer to that one. I asked one of my cats if he'd like to volunteer and he said, "You're kidding, right?" and went back to snoozing.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Knowing how much you love books and dogs, Carol, this would be perfect for you. Several of the pooches in our program are lovely rescues. I have fallen in love with all of them!



Mary Jane Maffini said...

I think there may be R.E.A.C.'s and even bunnies, Mary. I know that there are Therapy Cats. Your kitty might have just had a hangover or something today.



Acemommy said...


Denise Z. said...

What a great story. Now my Stella is going to want to add this skill to her list. I'm glad she's looking out the window right now, maybe she won't notice what I'm reading ...

Jeannie D. said...

What a great idea! I think it is wonderful to get kids to read at a young age, especially real books and not Kindles and such. There is nothing like the feel of a real book and what better way to enjoy them than with a pet.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

You could be hooked, Denise! I bet Stella is very convincing. Thanks for coming by.


MJ (and Lily)

Mary Jane Maffini said...

You are right, Jeannie! Children's books are meant to be held and explored and shared. Each one is like a gift.

Thanks for coming by.


MJ and Lily

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thank you, Acemommy. Great name, by the way. Hugs,. MJ and Lil

Annette said...

You ROCK Lily. You have a very important job to do. There is almost nothing else as important as helping children learn to read. You are a hero Lily.

Vicki said...

My library has a reading assistance dog come visit either once a week or every two weeks. The lady who comes brings books but the kids can also bring books to read to the dog if they want to.

I couldn't see exactly how it was done but what I did see was very neat. The kids are definitely excited about coming in to read. Anything to give them confidence.