Thursday, November 03, 2011

From the Desk of Lily Maffini, R.E.A.D. Pro!

Hello Everyone!

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
But this week, a package came to our house and Mom opened it. Guess what? Ten Little Hot Dogs. Mom got two more copies for this year.

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
We have heard from our school. This year I will be with a second grade class! The new teacher will pick three children to read with me every week, each one on their own.  All the other children will be a bit jealous, so I will visit the class and read a couple of books with Mom. Everyone will know my name. Last year, the school had big signs: Welcome Lily the Reading Dog! I felt ten feet tall, even though in real life, I am not quite one foot tall.

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!
So soon, I’ll be having a bath (don’t like that much), a manicure (ditto) and an anti-dander treatment (Mom says it’s necessary and stop squirming). Then I’ll put on my lovely red Ottawa Therapy Dog scarf and my beautiful red R.E.A.D, medallion and I’ll get in the car with my special blanket and our bag of books. I can’t wait. I wonder what children I’ll get to love this year.

Love, Lily


  1. What an absolutely fantastic program. And a fabulous post. I entered the giveaway and hope you get lots of takers.

  2. This is such a wonderful program! I love this description of it, and even more, I love the idea behind it. Thanks!

  3. Candace-- Thanks! I hope I do, too!

    Margot-- You're welcome!

    Barbara-- Mine, too!

  4. Great story Mary Jane! I'd love to use it in our next OTD newsletter if that's okay?



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