"And I would just talk to my dog and he would sit there and listen."
~ Tiger Woods
All-Around READing Dogs
Massachusetts ~ "Hazel" & "Owen"  

Owen was also a rescue dog, having been given up by his first family when he was 11 months old. After being adopted by AJ and her family into his forever home he earned the first level of obedience titles (Companion Dog) and worked toward higher titles. He passed the Junior Newfoundland Water Rescue Test, began tracking training, and earned the third level of rally title, Rally Excellent. In 2008, Owen earned his CDX obedience title. Now happily retired from the obedience ring, he may be settling into a harness and learning to do draft work next. Newfies are a working breed and love to pull carts or sleds, so this should be perfect for him.

Newfoundland therapy dog listens to children read.

Owen is much larger than the children
who read to him,
but he's friendly, not scary.

He and AJ are a registered R.E.A.D.® team and a Pet Partners therapy team. They live in Massachusetts and have been visiting the town library in Richmond twice a month since September 2005.

Center Point Large Print Books has donated cute little stuffed dogs to libraries for them to give out, lend, use as mascots, or whatever they chose. The dogs, named Brutus, appeared all over the United States.

This black Newfoundland dog is much larger than the child who is reading to him.

Where in the world is Brutus?

When Brutus showed up in Massachusetts, Owen was right there with the children to welcome him!

 Newfoundland therapy dog.

Feed me!

Enjoying retirement at the age of 12, Owen now has a distinguished white chin, and can eat whatever the heck he wants while he watches his young Newfie housemates, Hazel, learn what it takes to be a good therapy partner.

This very special gentle giant, Owen, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in June 2014. He was a therapy dog for several years, until he was 11-1/2 years young, and will be greatly missed by all who snuggled with him.

Books about Newfoundlands include:

Emily and Carlo, by Marty Rhodes Figley
Natalia's Favorite Color, by Rosanna Eubank
New-found-friends, by Rachel Hale
Old Dog Cora and the Christmas Tree , by Consie Powell
Sailor: The Hangashore Newfoundland Dog, by Catherine Simpson

Hazel is a Newfoundland, a very large but sweet-tempered, gentle breed of dog and a devoted companion. Newfoundlands are known as multipurpose dogs, at home on land or in the water, capable of draft work, and possessing natural lifesaving abilities.

On November 17, 2012, a 14-week-old Newfoundland pup, Hazel, came home with AJ to her own forever family. A very sweet rescue girl, Hazel quickly got along with the other Newfies in the family and was an easy pup to train. AJ felt Hazel would become an excellent therapy dog and be able to carry on when her other therapy dog, Owen, retires.

Newfoundland pup

A great big bundle of love.

Hazel passed her Pet Partners test with flying colors and was given the "complex" rating when she was just 15 months old.

Newfoundland pup passes Pet Partners therapy dog test.

AJ and her new official Pet Partner

She and AJ were then signed up with Intermountain Therapy as a new R.E.A.D. team. Their first visit official therapy visit was on November 30, 2013, at the library where, Owen, had started, and she's been volunteering twice a month at the Montague Center Library since January 2014.

Read to Hazel at Montague Center Library in Massachusetts.

Hazel's not shy about encouraging
children to read to her.

Others have jumped on "the Hazel craze" as well. A local quilter helped children who read to Hazel to assemble a quilt which will be on display at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst at the quilt show in 2015.

Newfoundland therapy dog.


Hazel had very big paws to fill, given Owen's popularity, and she has done so with perfection. She is becoming a wonderful therapy dog; in fact, she recently made the front page of a local newspaper for her efforts in their reading program:

Newspaper article about Newfoundland therapy dog in the library.

Hazel's gentle nature makes her
a perfect therapy dog

The article about Hazel explains how the idea of having a dog in the library is so that children can read to an impartial listener. Appointments for the second and fourth Wednesday of the month are scheduled through the Montague Center Library for children who want to read to Hazel.

Hazel is a wonderful all-around dog. She loves swimming, wrestling with her doggy brother "Reuben," hunting chipmunks, and snuggling with her people.

Newfoundland therapy dog loves children.

Hazel knows all children are special.

A busy gal, Hazel also visits a nursing home and trains for competition obedience and Newfoundland water rescue. It's no wonder that at the end of the day she becomes a couch potato who loves to sleep upside down in bed!

Newfoundland therapy dog relaxing with young reader.

Hazel shows how a large dog
can be a nice, calm dog.