"...empirical studies have established that when kids who struggle to read out loud in class read to dogs, their confidence and self-esteem improved. This in turn, enhanced literacy."
Molly not only is certified as a pet therapist to work with adults, she also has received a second certification that allows her and her handler, Cathy James, to work with children. Together, Molly and Cathy visit a school in Ontario where teachers noticed the big difference it made to kids who had difficulty reading out loud in class, to have weekly visits from their pet therapist in what’s known as the Paws To Read ® program. Not surprising really given that empirical studies have established that when kids who struggle to read out loud in class read to dogs, their confidence and self-esteem improve. This in turn, enhances literacy for the kids (and maybe even the dogs and cats who give their undivided to the kids as they read aloud).*
But improvements happen on many levels when Molly visits the classroom. For example, one little girl was afraid of cats until Molly worked her magic. Each week, the girl sat closer and closer to Molly while reading a book she thought the cat would enjoy. Now Molly curls up beside the girl who not only reads to her but also pats her while reading. Just another in a string of little triumphs.
Molly and Cathy also visit a retirement home where Molly hears stories of a different sort – the recollections of seniors who relish recounting tales of cats they’ve owned and loved. “So many knees to sit on and not enough time,” is how Cathy views the moments they share with the seniors -- or – arguably, just more in that string of little triumphs that happen when Molly comes to visit.
* For more information on the Paws To Readâ program, visit the website for Therapeutic Paws of Canada at www.tpoc.ca under Programs.