Reading with a dog is really fun!
All-Around READing Dogs
Florida ~ "Maggie" & "Jasper"  

Maxville Library, Florida, Boy Reading to Golden Retriever

Like young readers, Jasper was also eager to
learn from Maggie.

About five months before Maggie's 13th birthday, Linda adopted a young puppy. When checking out the Big Dog Rescue Group late one Saturday afternoon looking for a dog about a year old to train for therapy, little Jasper caught her eye. In a litter of 12 puppies, he was the only one not yet adopted.

One-year-old Jasper and Linda
at a Pawsitive Pets event

Only 2 pounds at birth and the runt of the litter, no one wanted him—but for Linda, it was love at first sight. Apparently a mix of Labrador and Golden Retriever, he was also the only chocolate-colored one in the litter. His name was Jasper, and he soon began training to follow in Maggie's big pawprints as a Reading Education Assistance Dog.

Thanks for reading to me today!

Jasper grew like a weed, and got into lots of trouble as puppies often do. It was never a dull moment, said Linda. But in February, when he was six months old, he began basic training classes. In April he won a prize in his class and by November he’d finished the advanced obedience classes.  Not so little anymore, Jasper had already visited a school classroom.

Golden retriever therapy dog with child at bookstore.

Young Jasper loves to listen to a good book.

Linda is still amazed at how well Jasper adjusted to being a R.E.A.D. partner at such a young age.

Good Dog, Jasper!

At the end of Jasper's first year as a Reading Education Assistance Dog, Linda gave the students this colorful card highlighting special memories from the school year.

College students de-stress with a therapy dog after their final exams.

College students enjoy a chance to
relax after final exams.

Jasper continues to be a welcome volunteer and R.E.A.D. ambassador, and not just for the elementary grades. In 2015, he helped students de-stress after their final exams at a local college.

Books about Labrador Retrievers include:
Goosed, by Bill Wallace
Looking Out for Sarah, by Glenna Lang
Rugby and Rosie, by Nan Parson Rossiter
The Adventures of Fudgie the Chocolate Labrador, by Roseanne Fleischman

Maggie is a Golden Retriever, a breed known to be eager, alert, and self-confident. They are among the most popular breeds in America and are familiar faces from numerous media spots, including the movie Air Bud and the TV show Full House. Liberty, a Golden Retriever, was First Dog when President Ford was in office, and she later gave birth to the First Litter of 9 puppies.

barnes and noble, children reading, dogs, golden retriever

Maggie visited wherever there were
childen and books.

Members of Pawsitive Pets in Jacksonville, Florida, Maggie and her partner, Linda, visited places such as Barnes & Noble in the St. Johns Town Center, the Juvenile Detention Center, the Maxville Branch Library, the Main Library, and many other community libraries and facilities.

Looks like Maggie enjoyed the colorful pictues
as much as the story.

Therapy dogs are a tremendous help in making reading a fun activity. Often children who are otherwise very shy will practice reading aloud to a dog. Some youngsters have said they don't even look forward to school being out for the summer because then they won't have Maggie to read to. One of the most important steps in helping children become good readers is getting them to look forward to reading.

Maggie's 13th birthday.

On March 13, 2012, Maggie got to spend her 13th birthday with her special friends at school. Everyone had fun celebrating with her.

On April 2, 2012, not long after her 13th birthday, sweet Maggie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

Jasper easily makes new friends.

Linda had been very worried Jasper wouldn’t be able to fill those big paws of Maggie’s, but he’s meeting some of the same children who knew Maggie and already he’s winning a lot of hearts.

Books about Golden Retrievers include:
Boomer Goes to School, by Constance McGeorge & Mary Whyte (Illustrator)
Can I Be Good? By Livingston Taylor & Ted Rand (illustrator)
My Doggie Says...: Messages from Jamie–how a dog named Jamie “talks” to her people, by Fred M. Haney.