Heather and her Golden Retriever, Dolly, join forces to inspire a love for reading, creating bookworms one child at a time.
In this 79th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Heather and her Golden Retriever, Dolly, about their inspiring work in creating bookworms by combining Heather’s passion for education with Dolly’s natural bond with children. Heather shares her journey as an educator and how she and Dolly became a successful therapy dog team.
In addition to joining Heather at school for Dolly Days, they also volunteer together as a certified Therapy Dog team through Dogs with a Purpose and are involved in the Reading Tails program at their local library. In our conversation, we discuss the impact Dolly has on both children and adults and how she helps students who are scared of dogs overcome their fear, boosts the confidence of those who struggle with reading, and has become a beloved figure at the library.
Heather also shares her recommendations for books related to therapy dogs and offers advice for those interested in forming a therapy dog team. We explore the importance of continuous training for therapy dogs and how it can be both fun and rewarding.
By the end of this episode, you’ll gain valuable insights into the world of therapy dog work and the incredible impact these pups can have on the lives of those they touch.
In this episode, we discuss …
- How Therapy Dogs can foster a love for reading by boosting kids’ confidence.
- Why it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s needs and know when they need a break.
- How continuous training is important for therapy dog teams to stay effective and adaptable.
Key moments you won’t want to miss:
Note that the timecodes match the video, not the podcast.
- [01:04] Heather talks about her life as an educator and how she and Dolly became a therapy dog team.
- [03:13] Heather explains why Dolly was the perfect therapy dog candidate and the training they did together.
- [05:17] Heather discusses Dolly’s natural connection with children and what she loves about them.
- [06:58] Heather shares how Dolly accompanies her to school and fits into her role as an Assistant Principal.
- [07:59] Heather describes Dolly’s participation in the Reading Tails program at their local library.
- [08:45] Heather explains how she knows when Dolly needs a break from her therapy dog work.
- [09:28] Heather talks about her goal to create lifelong bookworms and how Dolly helps with that.
- [10:51] Heather shares the positive impact Dolly has on children and adults in different settings.
- [14:29] Heather recommends four therapy dog-related books: Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog, Dogs at Work, Being a Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness and Augie the Therapy Doggie.
- [18:57] Heather emphasizes the importance of ongoing training for therapy dogs and how it can be enjoyable and rewarding.
I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a watch or a listen and then let me know in the community which part you found the most helpful!
Mentioned in this episode:
- AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy
- Augie the Therapy Doggie by Heather Vina
- Being a Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness by Maria Gianferrari
- Canine Good Citizen
- Dogs at Work by Margaret Cardillo
- Dogs with a Purpose
- Jackie’s Basics and Beyond
- Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp
- Reading Education Assistance Dogs® (R.E.A.D.)®
- Reading Tails
- The Dog Wizard
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