Last week, for the first time in my life, I got teary-eyed while getting in a workout at the gym. No, it wasn’t the intense burn of 35 enduring minutes on the elliptical (I only wish I was that moved by a workout). It was actually something that caught my eye on the TV screen ahead.
ABC was featuring a news story on therapy dogs, and the ability they have to help improve a child’s reading skill. The sound wasn’t even turned on, but the images of this boy and a dog, combined with the little snippets of hope appearing in the captions, just got to me.
If you didn’t catch it, the video says that a recent study done over a 10-week program showed that children who were struggling to read increased their skill level by 12% when working with a dog. The kids in the study who didn’t read to a dog did not increase their skill level at all. In short, it’s the non-discriminating nature of a dog that builds a child’s confidence, which in turn improves their reading.
Reading with kids is a part of therapy that I have yet to do with Frankie, but one I keep saying I want to try. She adores kids, and I can just imagine her looking up at them with her big, brown puppy-dog eyes, giving them an encouraging kiss on the cheek, and then offering her paw — so she can hold their hands while they work their way through each page.
P.S. Just in case you’re wondering…that sweet black dog with the big-ole ears wasn’t Tito, but now I can’t help but want to get him registered, too…