"When most of us talk to our dogs,
we tend to forget they're not people."
~Julia Glass
All-Around READing Dogs
Maine ~ "Ridge"  

As a Chessie, swimming is Ridge's favorite activity. He is a “recreational” retriever, although his breed was developed to hunt waterfowl under adverse weather conditions, often having to break ice during many strenuous multiple retrieves. A double coat consisting of a short, harsh, wavy outer coat and a dense, fine, wooly undercoat contains an abundance of natural oil and is ideal for protecting a Chesapeake in icy
rugged conditions. Despite their size and hardiness, and the fact that they love an active life, including a daily romp or swim, the breed prefers more than anything to spend time with their family. Most Chesapeakes have a bright and happy disposition. They are valued for their intelligence, quiet good sense, and affectionate protective nature.

Ridge atop one of Acadia National Park's
26 mountain peaks.

Ridge also enjoys hiking and climbing mountains. In early October 2011, at 7 months of age, Ridge walked all 65 miles of Acadia National Park's Carriage Roads in a week-long
effort to support “Hike for Mike," an annual fundraiser of The Acadia Family Center in Southwest Harbor, Maine. Ridge and his handler, MJ Penn, raised over $300 through local businesses and friends for the cause. They hope to climb all the peaks in the park during the Fall 2012 event, with a goal of raising $500.

Ridge and MJ paddleboarding on Echo Lake.

In his spare time, Ridge has begun training in agility and dock diving. But his newest sport is SUP (stand up paddleboarding)!

Ridge enjoys reading with his Reader Kids.
Here he''s wearing a Ruffwear "Swamp Cooler" vest on this hot summer day.

Ridge is an active young dog, involved with his library family and larger island community. Sturdy and steadfast, Ridge is well loved by the many children, adults, and seniors whose lives he touches. He has already participated in two community parades. MJ is very excited about Ridge being able to do volunteer work at such a young age (17 months in the photo above). She's quite proud of him and very much in awe of his developing therapy dog skills.


Books about Chesapeake Bay Retrievers include:
Chessie The Sea Monster That Ate Annapolis, by by Jeffrey Holland and Marcy Dun Ramsey
Dara: Autobiography of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, by Lolo Sarnoff
Life with Grover. A Chesapeake Bay Retriver who thought he was a person, by Alexander Crosby Brown



Born March 3, 2011, Ridge is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, sometimes called a “Chessie."

A youngster himself, Ridge joins in
for Toddler Story Time

Ridge was introduced to the library, small children, books, and reading when he was invited to Toddler Story Time as a 3-month-old puppy in May 2011. A little over a year later, he received his Therapy Dogs Incorporated registration. Membership with R.E.A.D. ® (Reading Education Assistance Dogs®) followed just in time for the 2012 summer sessions with Reader Dog Downeast at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Mount Desert Island in Maine.

Ridge is catching on quickly and following in the paw prints of his predecessors, Kelvin and Cody. Andy, a young boy who began reading with Kelvin, then helped train Cody as a Reader Dog, has been instrumental in teaching Ridge as well.

In addition to volunteering at the library, Ridge visits assisted living and Alzheimer residents at Birch Bay Village in Bar Harbor, Maine twice a month.

This therapy dog is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Kelvin was an amazing R.E.A.D. dog,
always ready to offer encouragement .

Sadly, after a very full life including activities such as mountain climbing, backpacking, boating, skijoring, camping, agility and boatyard dog trials in addition to his reading with children visits, Kelvin crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on March 18, 2009.

Cody always looked happy about being a
R.E.A.D. team member.

In September 2010, Cody crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. We trust he and Kelvin are happy and healthy, and will be swimming and hiking together forever.