"My home is where my books are."
~ Ellen Thompson
All-Around READing Dogs
California & Oregon ~ "Brinkley" & "Catie"



Portuguese Water Dog puppy and older dog.

Catie looks up to her big brother, Brinkley,
and soon joined him in R.E.A.D.

As a young puppy, Catie had Brinkley as her mentor and learned all about being a good therapy dog and a great R.E.A.D. partner. Catie accomplished her AKC Puppy STAR, AKC CGC, Pet Partner - Complex rating, SPCA-LA, and READ.

All work and no play is never a good idea.
Here's my Frisbee -- let's play!

Catie has been working every other week (Brink is going the other week) reading with children during the summer in Bend, and going to the St. Charles Hospital...she really did follow in her big brother's footsteps.

Smile! This is a good day.

Catie seems to really enjoy the attention and being close to her readers.

Another book to share. Life is good.

Some dogs do not like to be hugged. They may see a hug as a sign of dominance, so it is important children be taught never to hug a dog they don't know. It is best not to surprise the dog. Hug from the side, when you're happy, and with lots of "Good dog" praises.

Lucky Tucker? Lucky Catie!

These children are perfect examples of how to enjoy a hug with your dog.

Love is all around.

Catie and Brinkley are both wonderful examples of how therapy dogs can contribute positive learning experiences to the lives of children.

Not to be outdone by the youngster, Brinkley has added to his résumé by becoming a registered AKC Therapy Dog. Catie is now also in agility classes and the two dogs are having a great time, although Gwen wishes she didn't have to do quite so much running!

News Flash! In September 2012, Catie received her AKC Pet Therapy title. Apparently she's showing Brinkley, "Anything you can do ..."

Brinkley & Catie, a Dynamic Duo

Now all grown up, Catie does agility and has achieved all her pet therapy R.E.A.D. accomplishments...like her mentor, Brinkley!

Books about Portuguese Water Dogs include:
Hardworking Puppies , by Lynn Reiser
My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D.C., by Edward Kennedy

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

Brinkley is a black-and-white Portuguese Water Dog (PWD), the breed (and same color) chosen by President and Mrs. Obama for their family soon after they moved into the White House in 2009. PWDs have been prized for centuries as loyal companions and workers. With a waterproof coat and an energetic nature, this is a breed that was originally used to swim and dive for hours, putting in a full day’s work in or out of the water helping fishermen by herding schools of fish, carrying messages, retrieving broken nets, and serving as an alert guard.

Portuguese Water Dog looking at a book.

Brinkley checks out a book
for the next reader.

True to his breed, Brinkley puts in a full day’s work--and in not one but two states. When he was just a one and a half years old, he became a Reading Education Assistance Dog® (R.E.A.D.) team member with his owner, Gwen.  They read with children at two elementary schools in Southern California from November to the first of May and also have an ongoing assignment with the Palos Verdes Library District when the children’s librarian can organize it, usually in the spring. Then each year the family moves to Oregon, where Brinkley reads with children from May through October at Elk Meadow Elementary School and the Lunch and Learn program in Bend, Oregon.

Portuguese Water Dog

Brinkley, ready for whatever is next.

A prime example of a Portuguese Water Dog, Brinkley has been written about in a magazine, appeared on television, and has been a representative at the Pet Expo and Meet the Breeds at the Eukanuba Dog Show in Long Beach, California. Gwen and Brinkley work with Pet Partner affiliates Compassionate Canines of Central Oregon, and Paws4Healing in Southern California.

In addition to reading with children, Brinkley goes with Gwen every week to the St. Charles Hospital where he visits hospital patients, therapy patients, and children waiting for their loved ones to have surgery. Brinkley loves children and seems to think his job is fun as well as important.

Portrait of a very proud pair
when Catie earned her
Pet Partner-Complex rating.

In November, the family returns to California for the winter, where Catie will begin reading with children again at the Manhattan Beach Elementary School and at the libraries.

Portuguese Water Dog, therapy dog, children in hospital

Brinkley has a special way
of comforting his buddies.

Brinkley has learned to sit quietly while someone shows him a book. He will paw the book when asked, as a way of holding a page or pointing to a special word or picture. Gwen made a special dog blanket out of fleece—white with black dog prints—just big enough for Brinkley and the child reading to him to sit on. Some children hug him while reading, some pat him, and some sit next to him.

Portuguese Water Dog, therapy dog, Christmas

"Naughty or Nice?"
Well, what do you think!

Brinkley has earned his Canine Good Citizen award and is a registered Pet Partner. And as if therapy and R.E.A.D. activities aren't enough for him, Brinkley also runs through agility courses in Bend, Oregon.

Sweet Brinkley crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on November 11, 2017, at the age of 11. He was an amazing R.E.A.D. and therapy dog, and will be long remembered by all who met him.