SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. — This educational program connects young readers with four-legged friends, encouraging a hybrid of education and fun.
The Scott County Library’s “Books and Best Friends” program is for area school-aged children. Suzanne Cassity, therapy dog handler, said it was a fun and relaxed environment where children could read to four-legged friends.
“There’s no teaching, there’s no reading aloud to anyone, there’s no correction, it’s just fun and enjoying the dogs,” a- she declared.
Each of the dogs has completed and passed the training provided by “Pawsibilites” Unleashed Pet Therapy based in Frankfurt. On the first and third Saturdays of the month, they visit the Scott County Library to help young children combine fun and reading.
“I love watching the kids. They come in, they’re always so excited,” librarian Lauren Ekers said. “We have people who come every time we have this program and they always want to read to their favorite dogs or they want to read to all the dogs here, which can be a little tricky depending on how many people we have that day but it’s great.
The kids who frequent Books and Best Friends aren’t just here because they like to read; they are here because they have the chance to relax and have fun while reading and cuddling with a four-legged friend.
“It just gives you reading comfort because dogs are so fun to read,” said a reader named Mason Sheets.
The “Books and Best Friends” program is also a chance for them to understand the importance that therapy dogs have in society.
“Dogs love unconditionally and they are always there to be a friend. They understand and can feel the emotions of people, adults and children, and they work on it and they just love being around people and especially children,” said explained Cassity.
Parents describe the “Books and Best Friends” program as invaluable to their children, as they understand the value and importance of the program.
“It’s really important to me,” said Francisca Hessings, a reader’s mother. “This one can’t read yet but she loves dogs, so this is helping her understand reading better and getting closer to words with dogs.”
The organizers of “Books and Best Friends” hope that the time these children spend reading with their new friends will provide endless “Pawsibilites.”