My name is Lily. I am a five year old black and tan miniature dachshund and I can’t wait to go back to school. No, no, not puppy school. Real school. People school. You see, I am a volunteer: a R.E.A.D. dog. R.E.A.D. stands for Reading Education Assistance Dog. Really.
That means I’ll go once a week to a lovely school and meet with some very nice children. Last year, I was new at it. I had my own three boys. I loved to snuggle with them and to hear them read to me, one by one. It was my favorite time of the week, although I do like chasing squirrels when I am not in school. I got better and better at listening and paying attention to books. The boys got better and better at reading. One of them read twenty-six books to me! Mom kept a record. We gave him a copy of his favorite book: Ten Little Hot Dogs. It’s my favorite book too, of course.
|Lily's favorite book|
Being a R.E.A.D. dog is an important job. I couldn’t walk into a school on my four paws, just like that, you know. First, I had to have a year’s experience with Ottawa Therapy Dogs.
I did that and now my sister Daisy has taken over my important job with Alzheimer’s patients.
Next I had to pass a test, even though I had already passed a test to become a therapy dog. The new test took more than two hours! I had to be calm in a school yard situation, not react to bells and loud noises or bouncing balls and be friendly to kids, without jumping up. I had to show how much I liked being with kids and that I was relaxed and not afraid. And I was not allowed to bark. That was pretty hard, but I did it.
|Lily practicing with Teagan|
Daisy is jealous and trying to get in on the act.
Mom’s there with me when I go to school, but really, it’s all about me and my boys. Wait, maybe I’ll have a girl this year. I like girls too. Some little girls in our neighborhood practiced reading with me when I was studying for my Big Test. That was fun and a big help.
|Lily Maffini, R.E.A.D. Pro!|