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