"Open your child's imagination.  Open a book."
~ Anonymous
 
All-Around READing Dogs
Alabama ~ "Miss Sophie Grey"  

This is a collie listening to a book being read by a girl in elementary school.

Miss Sophie Grey, Member
Alabama Animal Hall of Fame

In March 2010 Miss Sophie Grey was nominated and selected for induction into the Alabama Animal Hall of Fame by the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association along with the Alabama Veterinary Medical Foundation. The Alabama Hall of Fame committee is charged with the mission to recognize Alabama's most exceptional domestic, companion, or assistance animals.  Inductees will have displayed outstanding loyalty, courage, service, or intuitive abilities in its relations with humans. Miss Sophie Grey was awarded this honor based on her work as a R.E.A.D. and therapy dog. She was introduced by Dr. Jan Strother as a wonderful, loving, and sweet Yorkie that brings smiles and joy to everyone she meets.  She was presented an Alabama Hall of Fame plaque and medal. Miss Sophie Grey is a terrific little R.E.A.D. dog—well deserving of this award, and she appears to be very honored by it.

This is a girl reading a book to a collie at La Mesa Library.

This picture was taken during a week of
R.E.A.D.ing Seuss to Sophie.

Yorkshire Terriers are quick learners, and Miss Sophie is no exception. Following obedience training at House of Paws K-9 Obedience Academy, she earned her CGC (Canine Good Citizen) award, her RN (Rally Novice) and CD (Companion Dog) titles, and also completed some training in agility. All that in addition to completing her Therapy Dog Inc. registration requirements and her Intermountain Therapy Animals registration as a  R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dog) team.  

The obedience competitions were fun, but the therapy work has been the most rewarding for Miss Sophie.  When the therapy/R.E.A.D. collar comes out of the bag, she knows it is time to go to work and she loves it. 

All work and no play is not good for anyone, or any dog. In her down time, Miss Sophie loves to chase tennis balls—Sheila kicks them, Miss Sophie chases them.  Miss Sophie invented this game as a young puppy. Sheila says the rules according to Miss Sophie are: “You kick, I chase, you go to where the ball stops and kick it again” … and so the game goes.  She also loves to go outside and explore her back yard where she chases birds and squirrels—to no avail.

Books about Yorkshire Terriers include:
Living a Dog's Life, by Cindy Adams
The Gift of Jazzy, by Cindy Adams
The Yorkie Diaries, by Melissa Sovey
Yorkie Doodle Dandy, by William A. Wynne

(Click on the titles above for a brief description and convenient ordering information.)

Miss Sophie Grey is a Yorkshire Terrier, a breed named for the English city in which they originated. In the nineteenth century, Yorkshire Terriers were bred to catch rats in clothing mills. They belonged mostly to the working class, especially the weavers, and sometimes comments were jokingly made about how the dogs' fine, silky coats were the ultimate product of the looms.

Independent, feisty, and intelligent, the Yorkie is often called a big dog in a little body. Only 5 to 7 pounds, this popular breed requires limited exercise but does need daily interaction with people. They are adaptable to most situations and like to be included in everything. Although their coats require regular brushing if allowed to grow long, they have humanlike hair, not fur, and are considered a hypoallergenic breed

As her loving owner, Sheila, remarks, “It is true that GREAT things come in small packages.  Miss Sophie Grey is a wonderful, loving, sweet, and irresistible little Yorkie, and once you meet her you will understand why I always say, ‘MISS SOPHIE LOVES EVERYBODY AND EVERYBODY LOVES MISS SOPHIE!’”

This child is reading and relaxing against the side of a collie, like a pillow of fur, in San Diego, California.

Small child + small dog =
a winning combination!

In her R.E.A.D.® duties, Miss Sophie Grey sees Pre-K through third grade students at a local elementary school.  She is an attentive listener and enjoys the attention she receives from the “little ones.”  Even the most timid readers do not hesitate to read to Miss Sophie.  In return, the students benefit by gaining literacy and communication skills from reading to her.  The individual sessions help build the child’s self-esteem and improve reading skills in a setting that is fun and nonthreatening. 

As a registered therapy dog, Miss Sophie rotates weekly visits to area nursing homes, an Alzheimer facility, a veteran's home, and an assisted living facility.  The patients and residents look forward to seeing her and regularly express how much they look forward to her visits.

Miss Sophie has been featured in several local newspapers for her therapy work and her time spent with children as they R.E.A.D. with her.

A very nice article about Miss Sophie Grey appeared in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue (Volume 5, Issue 1) of Therapy Dogs Incorporated Newsmagazine, Click here to have a look at the photo and article.

 

 

     
 
 
 
 

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