"To get the full value of joy
you must have someone to divide it with."
~ Mark Twain

All-Around READing Dogs
Iowa ~ "Gunnar"  

Golden retriever watching a finger pupet in this story.

Gunnar watches the finger puppet
in this book.

Golden Retrievers are typically wonderful family pets and known to get along great with children. They are gentle, trusting, and calm with an exceptional eagerness to please.

Golden retriever listening to a good story.

Waiting for the next pop-up figure to appear.
Very scary!

Gunnar works primarily with kindergarten children. The youngsters enjoy seeing him and reading to him.

Golden retriever therapy dog with a kindergarten student.

Gunnar has made a difference in
many chidren's lives.

Happy smiles on everyone!

Golden retriever therapy dog in a classroom.

Gunnar makes sure the page
doesn't turn over too soon.

Pete says Gunnar has become the most loyal and loved dog he has ever had, and he has lived with many dogs his entire life. He only wishes there were more like Gunnar so they could read with ALL the children at school who want to read to him.

Gunnar's pawtograph.

In June 2011, Gunnar completed his first R.E.A.D.® assignment at a local kindergarten. The school has a tradition of all staff member putting their hand prints on the wall at the end of the year. That year, Gunnar was invited to add his, and so he did.

Golden retriever therapy dog at the library.

Gunnar at a public library visiting
with a special ed student and his aide.

Gunnar is a very special dog not just to Pete, but to the many others who meet him. Pete comments that it shows in everything he does and how he behaves around each of them. He is one of those dogs that everyone falls in love with and would like one just like him for their own.

Books about Golden Retrievers include:

Dubs Goes to Washington: And Discovers the Greatness of America, by Dick Morris, Eileen McGann, & Clayton Liotta
Right Dog for the Job: Ira's Path from Service Dog to Guide Dog, by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy, by Dori Hillestad Butler

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

Gunnar is a Golden Retriever, the breed fourth on the American Kennel Club’s 2012 most popular breed list. Gunnar was 1-1/2 years old when he came to Pete and his wife, Kris, for foster care. In spite of fostering more than 50 dogs in the past, and currently owning two other dogs, it was soon obvious that Gunnar was very special. Within 24 hours of his arrival, they had decided to adopt him.

Golden Retriever in Cedar

Gunnar is right at home
in the heartland of America.

Historically, golden retrievers were developed as gun dogs to retrieve birds during hunting and shooting parties. Pete looked forward to seeing Gunnar at work, intent on a scent and zeroing in on a pheasant under cover, happily pursuing the life he was meant for.

This golden retriever is a therapy dog that helps children practice reading.

Gunnar helps teach 4-year-olds
about the different jobs dogs can do.

Gunnar, however, had other ideas. He proved he is not only “man’s best friend” but friend to many others as well…dogs, cats, children, even pheasants...and so began his career as a therapy dog and Reading Education Assistance Dog® team member.

Golden retriever teaching safety around dogs.

Teaching 3-year-olds how to greet
strange dogs.

Gunnar volunteers twice a week at a local elementary school and also visits several local libraries.

Gunnar helps Pete demonstrate
safety around animals

Gunnar not only helps children learn to read but also to understand about the responsibilities of pet ownershp and how to properly greet strange dogs.

Patriot Award

In June 2016, Gunnar and Pete were honored at the annual Freedom Festival in Cedar Rapids. They were among three recipients honored as unsung heroes who make sinificant contributions through volunteerism and service to their community. Click here to see their photo and read the newspaper article: Freedom Festival honors heroesj

Gunner works with approximately sixteen students a year at Arthur Elementary School and was featured in a newscast explaining how he is helping students with their reading proficiency. Click here to read the article and watch the short video: Beyond the Books.