When the Love Dogs started a monthly Story Time at the Children’s Therapy Center that we partner with, we knew it would be about more than reading. Yes we have books there and some children do read stories with the dogs. But the greater thrill is seeing children with all sorts of challenges meet a dog and love a dog.
We gather several Love Dogs teams in a large gym area of the Center and everyone ahs their spot. Then the kids come in.
It always begins slowly with the children and families becoming comfortable around the dogs and greeting each one. The children can spend time with all the dogs or one dog they are particularly drawn to. Whatever works best.
Then all of a sudden everyone stops and turns to see a young man walk with Boise, keeping his balance. Something his family said was too hard for him – but he did it!
Or they pick up their heads to see a child who was so frightened of the dogs upon arrival, cradle Petey in her arms.
Or we see a young man meet his 20th dog and strike up a conversation, making eye contact – a huge achievement for him.
Or a dog who has come for the first time, just know she is in the right place for her and melt into someone’s arms.
Or a child with little mobility, pick up his head to reach Boise.
Or a therapist who tells us she never had so much fun volunteering.
Or a parent asking if her child can work with a dog on a regular basis.
Or a Love Dog handler grinning from ear to ear, so proud of what his or her dog can do.
Or a Love Dog animal just knowing he has done a great job and simply taking a break on a child’s leg so both of them can rest.
Yes we read stories, but so much more happens at a Love Dog Story Time!