"Read, read, read."
~ William Faulkner
All-Around READing Dogs
Illinois ~ "Rufus"  

Above all, Rufus loves to hear his very own book read to him. It’s called “Rufus T. (The) Dog: I’ll Take It You’ll Play,” photographed and written by Pam’s son, Cody, a video producer/photographer.

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier

It was a Christmas gift and has become the gift that keeps on giving, as so many of the readers love to read his book to him and Rufus never tires of hearing about himself (especially the part about playing Frisbee).

Jack Russell TerrierJack Russell Terrier

Excerpts from his book

As would be expected, Rufus is energetic, smart, and has at least one corner on “cuteness.” In his work at the Pediatric unit at Central DuPage Hospital, he “seeks out the patient” and promptly plants himself next to or on the feet of the child. If the child is in bed, he is able to jump on the bed (he’s definitely a “jumpin’ jack”) and promptly snuggles in close to the child. He has the ability to give a “high five” while lying down. Since Jack Russells love to play, he knows a variety of games and loves to play them with whomever he visits. Young or old, all enjoy playing a game with Rufus.

Jack Russell Terrier, Halloween

Rufus in his Count Dogula costume
for Halloween

Among Rufus’s favorite games to play are “the shell game” and “shooting dice.” The shell game (or, cup game) involves putting a blindfold on Rufus so he doesn’t peek, and the participant hiding a treat under one of three cups. Then the blindfold is removed and Rufus has to find the treat. Shooting dice involves large foam dice “thrown” by the participant, who counts the number of dots on the dice, and then finds the corresponding “trick” next to the number on the “trick list.” Rufus gets to fetch and return the dice to the participant. The participant gives the command to Rufus to perform the trick. “Crawl” and “speak” (using his “hospital voice” of course) are the top favorites.

Jack Russell Terrier

Rufus the wrapper, always willing to help

At home, Rufus is an avid Frisbee player and an incredible ball chaser and catcher. His claim to fame is that he’s never been beaten to a ball (his or anyone else’s) by any dog! His latest craze is learning to master the skateboard, having made it halfway down the driveway already.

Jack Russell Terrier

Wow, what a book!

All of the games that Rufus plays, and more, can be found in a wonderful new book, Animal Assisted Therapy Activities to Motivate and Inspire, where Rufus is pictured in many of the activities. 

Books with a Jack Russell Terrier in the story include:

Angus: A Novel, by Charles Siebert
The Jack Russell Terrier: Courageous Companion, by Romaine Brown

The following books are among Rufus's favorites:

101 Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith
I, Jack, by Jack the Dog, as told to Patricia Finney (a book he particularly enjoyed because Jack spoke his language!)
Lady and the Tramp, by Walt Disney
The Dangerous Book for Dogs: A Parody by Rex and Sparky, pictured above, written by several authors
The “Wimpy Kid" series, by Jeff Kinney
The “Puppy Place” series, by Ellen Miles

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

Rufus is a registered Jack Russell Terrier (JRT), aka Parson Russell Terrier, although everyone who sees him says, "He doesn't LOOK like a Jack Russell." JRTs can have a rough, wiry coat, called a “broken” coat, or a smooth coat. They are white and may have black, brown, tan, cream, or tri markings. His owner, Pam, now carries around a book with pictures of JRTs that look like him. She, says, "Rufus came to us as a Christmas gift...a little white bundle of fur, with a red bow bigger than he, and it was all over!"

Jack Russell Terrier

Rufus T. Dog

This is one of the most popular breeds on television, certainly made famous by “Eddie” on the Frasier show and “Wishbone” from the PBS series Wishbone, as well as by movie stars like Milo” (The Mask) and “Barkley” (Clean Slate). Commercials for RCA, MCI, and Nissan have included the terriers, as did a pizza commercial where a JRT and a shaggy dog licked sauce off a giggling child’s face.  

This is a breed known to be filled with energy and attitude but also alert, confident, playful, and very affectionate. They are typically good with children but may not tolerate rough handling from toddlers.

Rufus has been part of a registered animal assisted therapy team since 2006. He and Pam work with Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy, an AAT group in the Chicago area. Rufus has worked in a variety of programs, and has an uncanny ability to adapt to just about any situation.

Being a Jack Russell Terrier has had its advantages in the animal assisted therapy world, although learning to be a therapy dog was a bit of a challenge. Rufus actually failed the first 6-week class because he was way too excited to sit still to be petted; however, he repeated the class, practice made perfect … and the rest is history.

Jack Russell Terrier therapy dog

Rufus is a good helper and holds the page open

Rufus and Pam are part of the group of Rainbow teams that started with the Reading to Rover Program at the Wheaton Library, initiated in March of 2008 by their wonderfully innovative children’s librarian, Janet Dumas. Their program runs four times a year in six-week sessions from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Each child signs up for a 15-minute time slot, reading at the same time each week for six weeks. There are four dogs and six 15-minute time slots, so 24 may register. There is a waiting list of 10–15 children who will be called to participate if the registered children are absent

After each reading session, the child receives a bookmark with a photograph of the dog he or she read to, and they really enjoy collecting them.

Therapy Dog Bookmark

There are also photographs of children reading with the dogs posted in the Children's Department. The only people allowed in the room are the child, the dog’s owner, and a library staff member. Parents are encouraged to wait outside the room; if they wish to take photos they may do so after the program has ended for the day. The program has been successful on many levels and seems to result in an improvement in the overall attitudes of children toward reading, which is a large part of becoming an established reader.

Jack Russell Terrier

Rufus is intent on
listening to this story

Rufus is also a marvelous “helper” dog. One of the best things he does is “hand a Kleenex” to someone when they sneeze. Last spring, during allergy season one of the readers was surprised and delighted that Rufus politely handed her a Kleenex when she sneezed! 

Jack Russell Terrier

I didn't expect to learn about snakes today!

Rufus is always ready for a good story and has found that most of his readers bring a couple of books to choose from. He’s flattered that most of them choose books about dogs, but he’s open-minded about the subject matter and has learned that even if the books aren’t about dogs, they can still be interesting.