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Read to dogs? Apparently, they make good listeners at the Murrieta Library

By in Press Enterprise on August 12, 2017

By Liam Truchard

At his age, it doesn’t matter that Elliott Reeves, 2, can’t read. What matters for him and his family is all the bonding he’s doing with his new friend, Lucy.

She’s of the four-legged variety and both are listening as Elliott’s mom Inga reads to them during the latest session of “Dog Tales,” which happens Mondays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Murrieta Library.

Meanwhile, his sister Rowan, a big girl at 7, is reading to her own furry friend.

“I liked how we got to read the new words,” she says. Notice her use of the word “we,” meaning in that moment the dog can read, too. Does it get more precious?

“I think it’s cool because it’s a less stressful environment to read out loud,” says their mom, Inga.

Folks read to dogs — yes, dogs — at the Murrieta Library.

“The dogs are a calming presence.”

Lucy, Penelope, Cid, Misty and Winston sat patiently while kids from 2 to 18 read to them last week. All have bookmarks with their pictures and names on them that the handlers provide the readers. Each says “R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dog) with me for a pawstive experience.” Corny yes, but oh so touching.

Corny yes, but oh so touching.

I also know their names because of the adorable flier with drawings of each animal under the heading, “We are wagging for you to come read to us.”

Who can say no to that?

About 20 kids can’t, signing up for the session. There’s a waiting list as they take turns reading in 10-minute chunks coordinated by Margaret Graefen, who starts them with this exhortation, “Ready, set, read!”

Not that they’re in a big hurry. Some kids spend part of their time sitting on the floor just talking to the dogs or their handlers, all the while exchanging hugs, wags, licks […]    

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