Dog Tales, Inc. (a 501c3 charitable organization)
The Mission of Dog Tales is to improve the literacy skills of the children in our community through the use of registered therapy dogs as literacy mentors. Betty Lewis our coordinator and founder, founded the first program of its kind in Michigan nine years ago. However, the program was proven effective by the Intermountain Therapy Animal in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has since spread to many other states. Their program is called Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ).
Specialists have found that children who read at a level below their peers are often intimidated by reading aloud in a classroom setting. This lowered self-esteem causes reading to be a chore. Children find that reading to an animal is less intimidating, a special time for them that is helpful and fun at the same time.
Fun: Children are not labeled as we take applicants who just love to read and want to have fun reading with the dogs, as well as those who are struggling with reading skills and self-confidence. After all, it’s fun to go to the library; its fun to read for pleasure; and it’s especially great to share this fun with a furry friend (a dog).
The Program runs for 4 consecutive weeks with the child reading for 20 minutes at each session. Each child participating and completing the 4-week program receives a “pawtographed” book for their reading level. We are an all volunteer group, thus purchase of the books is from donations or fund raisers.
Special Training: Alma Redbird in St. Louis, owned by Heidi and Greg Garberson have allowed us to use their K-9 Training facility to train our dogs and for meetings or gatherings. Each dog must train and pass a test to be certified for therapy work. The AKC Canine Good Citizenship test is part of this testing. In addition to those requirements are items selected to assure that only those dogs with the proper temperament are selected for certification and thus for use in our program.
Dog Tales Teams
Nancy Ball (Emma)
Vickie & Bruce Borkovich (Blue)
Judy & Sam Brankel (Solo)
Michelle Christianson (Randall & Prace)
Clara J Del Valle (Gizelle, Lilibeth)
John Gerhard (Chocolate Chip)
Cheryl Heisler (Mickey & Gizmo)
Coleen Howell (Pupper & Sasha)
Marsha Huzzey (Jewel)
JoAnn Jones (Trouble)
Betty & Larry Lewis (Mandy, Windi)
Bethany Lyon (Kitty)
Nancy Malinowski (Stone)
Bonnie Mercure (Baxter)
Marilyn Morey (Buddy)
Nancy O’Brien (Daisy)
Susan Rassmussen (Zoe)
Corey Sayen (Rainy)
Vicki Winchester (Covey)
Gwen Zimmer (Ruthie)
Final Exam Stress Relief, CMU Dec. 1-8
First Methodist Church, Mt. Pleasant Dec. 15
Program itself begins Jan. 11, 2010
Carrie Knause Elementary Svhool 2nd graders March
South Elementary Shool Ithaca March
Pierre Marquette Library, Clare, April