CHAZY - There is a new program coming to the Chazy Public Library, which will have dogs being a readers best friend.
On June 4, therapy dog trainer Linda LaPier, and former reading teacher, came to the library, along with her five-year-old Brittany Spaniel Emma. LaPier read three stories about therapy dogs to the children in attendance, while they sat and petted Emma.
"I contacted Francie [Fairchild] and asked if there was some way we could do an evening with a therapy dog," explained LaPier. "Which we did. Now we're hoping to establish some kind of a six-week long program."
LaPier, who has worked with dogs for more than 30 years, takes Emma to St. Mary's Academy in Champlain once a week to have Emma sit with the students while they read aloud.
"I was just telling the teachers [at St. Mary's] how well the kids have progressed over the course of the year," LaPier said.
Fairchild, who is the director of the Chazy Public Library explained having a therapy dog by a child while they read a loud is much less intimidating for them.
"For kids that have trouble reading, the dog is totally non-critical," Fairchild said. "It's just less intimidating to the children and it's worked."
The program which Fairchild and LaPier hope to begin in July, will allow children from the area to visit the library once a week, for six weeks, to spend time with Emma and read aloud.
"They don't have to be kids with difficulty with reading," explained LaPier.
The program, which is titled "Tail Waggin' Tutors" is a program from Therapy Dogs International Inc., a volunteer organization which tests and registers therapy dogs, of which Emma is registered.
Tail Waggin' Tutors, according to their pamphlet, introduces children to the world of reading and books "in a positive and unique way."
"As a reading dog, [Emma] will sit and she'll listen and it gives the kids a forum where they're not going to be judged," LaPier explained. "They'll sit on the floor and they'll pet her while they read. If they make a mistake, so be it."
If interested in signing up your child for the therapy dog reading program at Chazy Public Library, contact Fairchild at 846-7676, by the end of June.
"We're just hoping that people will call if they want their children to read with a dog," said Fairchild.
For more information about TDI, which is based in Flanders, N.J., call 1-973-252-9800 or visit www.tdi-dog.org.