Berakah – Therapy Dog at Children’s Library
Berakah at the Children’s Library
Berakah regularly participates in our local library’s Reading Dog Program, which links therapy dogs with children who are struggling to learn to read, or any child who wants to spend time reading to a therapy dog. She and her dad, Chaos, started the program at our library last December. It’s a nationwide program with documented evidence that pairing a child who is struggling in school with a non-judgmental dog helps not only improve their reading skills but also their overall participation in class. Chaos and Berakah go to the library on Friday afternoons from 2:30 – 5. Children sign up for thirty minute appointments to read to them. Each therapy dog normally works for an hour. Since the library had never let dogs inside, we decided the therapy dogs would wear special vests both to identify them and to advertise the Reading Dog program.
The library had asked if I would bring the puppies last Friday when I came with a big dog for the Reading dog program. They had kids signed up only for the 2:30 and 3:30 slots, so they asked if we could have puppy playtime from 3 to 3:30. The two librarians would babysit the pups while Berakah did the first appointment, and the pups could sleep in the crate I brought to the children’s librarian’s office while Berakah had her second appointment. It didn’t work out that way at all! After we brought in the crate, bag of puppy toys, camera, puppies and Berakah, the 2:30 appointment called and cancelled. The librarians were thrilled and said, “Let’s start puppy playtime NOW!” There were kids in the children’s library and all indicated they’d love to play with the puppies. I already had Berakah inside so I put her on a down on the stage of the children’s theater while the pups played with kids on the floor and up the “steps” that children sit on for presentations. Poor Berakah, all those toys rolling and flying past her, children chasing puppies and puppies chasing
children, and she had to stay put. She did, and attracted her own crowd on the stage.
One little girl, Ophelia, decided Berakah was being ignored and needed a book read to her so she sat on the stage with Berakah and read one.
Then Michelle, the head children’s librarian decided she needed to read a book to Berakah (and the children gathered around). Berakah sure looks like she’s reading along with Michelle. I love the expressions on their faces!
As I tried to extract the pups from everyone so we could go home, Berakah settled on the floor in the main children’s library room and continued to charm moms and kids. Everyone was exhausted when we got home. That was a wild 90 minutes!