One day Thorndyke got some unexpected news from Guide Dogs of America. He was no longer a guide dog puppy-in-training, but a "career change dog." He had liked being a puppy in training, going out daily in public to visit and socialize in different environments, but now that job was over. Thorndyke knew he would not be happy staying at home, so he hoped the career change would involve tons of petting by new people. However, life seemed just the opposite. Day after day, his owner left the house without him! 'Hey, what about me? Where's my yellow jacket?' Thorndyke whined. "When will I start my new career?"
As a young puppy, handsome Thorndyke
began training for Guide Dogs of America.
Luckily, about four months later a show called Reading Rainbow on PBS featured pet therapy animals which Elizabeth watched with her first-grade students. She was drawn to the idea because she felt Thorndyke, with his Guide puppy experience, would be a great therapy dog. Also, people could pet, hug, love, and hold him while he was "working" in various environments.
Therapy was a great idea, but when Elizabeth and Thorndyke learned about R.E.A.D., they knew he has found his niche. This was the perfect job for Thorndyke. Lie around on a cozy dog quilt while children read stories aloud. Only one rule: whenever the reader turns a book's page, he or she must pet the dog. Sometimes Thorndyke will pat the page or touch the pictures with his paw to let the reader know he is paying attention and likes the way they are reading to him.
A very distinguished-looking Thorndyke poses in his
Delta Society Pet Therapy Literacy Dog vest.
Stickers with Thorndyke's photo are given to the readers after their session. They also get a bookmark as a way of saying "Thank You," "I am your friend," "Come back and read to me again."