Library Corner: Sophie Ann and the Read to a Dog program
October 6, 2017
Did you know that dogs are the perfect reading companions? They create a relaxed, comfortable and safe environment for sharing books. For almost a year, Mikey Gallavan has been bringing Sophie Ann, a trained therapy dog, to libraries in Grand County so children can read to her.
Sophie becomes excited and animated when Mikey dresses her in a special therapy dog vest, knowing that it is time to go to the library, curl up, and listen to a child read. She enters the library eagerly, walking around greeting patrons while nearing her corner of the children's area. Soon children and parents will come, lining up to take their turn to stroke Sophie's golden coat, look into her big brown eyes, and begin to read aloud. It does not matter to Sophie how well the child can read—if they hesitate when they come to certain words or if they stammer. She is never judgmental, does not criticize, and has a way of making each child feel comfortable reading aloud and encouraged.
Jeanette McQuade, branch manager of the Fraser Valley Library, says, "It's so wonderful to see the children's faces light up when they first meet Sophie, and also heartwarming to see Sophie's wagging tail as she understands that this is her job." You can bring your child to read with Sophie at the Fraser Valley Library on the first Wednesday of the month from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 1 is the next "work day" for Sophie, so mark your calendar, help your little one select a good book to share with Sophie, and come to the library to meet Sophie. All ages are welcome, and children do not have to be reading ready to visit. Please arrive to the library early to select a book, and have fun reading to your new four-legged friend.