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A reader’s best friend: Reedsburg Public Library hosts dog visit
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A reader’s best friend: Reedsburg Public Library hosts dog visit

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One of the programs at the Reedsburg Public Library involves the company of a furry friend.

A twelve-year-old golden retriever named Henry, a licensed dog through Pet Partners, has been listening to children read at the Reedsburg Public Library. The event is hosted by Dogs on Call, a Poynette based organization registered under animal therapy organization Pet Partners. Youth Services Liberian Jess McCarlson said it’s an event the library has hosted in previous years and is popular at other libraries throughout the area.

The library hosted two afternoon dog visit sessions June 20 and July 10 in the library’s story time room. Henry will appear for one final visit of the summer from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 24. Nine, ten minute time slots are available for sign up that day at the library’s children’s desk.

McCarlson said the June session had 21 participants, including children and adults. At the July 10 session one family read to Henry, she said. She said the program is aimed for those who can read independently but all ages are welcome to attend. She said parents participate by reading with their children and the dog and an adult patron even read a poem to Henry.

Dogs on Call President Artie Berning said when children read to an animal, there isn’t any criticism compared to reading with an adult or in a school setting. The atmosphere of reading to an animal can “put the child at ease” providing a less stressful atmosphere.

“Children who will not read in front of their classmates will sit and read a whole book to the dog,” Berning said.

McCarlson agrees.

“It’s a little less intimidating to read to something that’s furry and cute versus reading to a grown-up, who maybe already knows how to read,” she said.

Berning said Dogs on Call has 130 teams involving one handler and a dog. She said about 40 participate in the Read with Me program, travelling to schools around the state, including Baraboo and Middleton Public Library’s. She said the organization also travels to hospitals, nursing homes and schools throughout Wisconsin. She said the program includes other animals like cats, miniature horses, rabbits and guinea pigs. More information Read with Me is on the Dog’s on Call website.

Additional information can be found by calling the library at 608-768-7323 or visit the Reedsburg Public Library website.

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