"One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being."
~ May Sarton
All-Around READing Dogs
Missouri ~ "Hero," "Halo," & "Megan"  

Rottweiler therapy dog

Hero loves having stories read to him!

The Greater Kansas City Association of School Librarians honored the “BowWOWing for Books therapy dog reading program with their Blue Ribbon Award May 6, 2009, at the annual spring banquet. The R.E.A.D.® program is coordinated by library media specialist Joan Arth. The facilitators are Heddie Leger and Dana Marsh, and their canine partners are Hero, a Rottweiler, and Megan, a Schnauzer. The program focuses on second-grade students who have difficulty reading. The students read 20 minutes once a week to their animal friends. The purpose is to allow students the experience of reading without the scrutiny of a teacher or parent. The animal-assisted therapy focuses on fluency, comprehension, confidence, and a passion for reading. 

Therapy dogs, a Rottweiler and a Schnauzer, pose with two chidren and some books to read.

Hero and Megan
Good friends, a special team.

BowWOWing for Books has been provided since 2004 locally at public libraries and since 2007 in the schools. The program includes a pre- and post-assessment, and the children each receive a meda and a Paw-tographed book.

Megan, a beautiful 12-year-old Schnauzer, also participates in the BowWOWing For Books reading program.

Rottweiler and Schnauzer therapy dogs.

Hero & Megan pose for the camera.

Megan meets with students weekly at schools and libraries, helping them build their reading and vocabulary skills. She loves to sit on her pretty princess pillow and listen to children read. Megan also visits nursing homes where friends and relatives reside. She brings a smile to everyone’s face with the wiggle of her tail, and the blink of her beautiful eyelashes.

Megan traveled with Hero to the Missouri Association of School Librarians Conference where they helped give a presentation to help all the librarians in schools across the state learn the benefits of having a R.E.A.D. program in their school library. The R.E.A.D. program presentation with Hero and Megan was voted the best program by the attendees. Megan loves everyone and everyone loves Megan.

Stories about Schnauzers include:
Joshua, by Charles S. Ricks
What Great Thing Can Patches Do? by Sharon K. Mitchell

There is a whole series of books by Alexandra Day about a Rottweiler named Carl, including:
Puppy Trouble
Carl Goes Shopping
Carl Goes to Daycare
Carl Pops Up
Carl's Afternoon in the Park
Carl's Birthday
Carl's Masquerade
Carl's Christmas
Follow Carl
Good Dog, Carl

Meet Hero, a Rottweiler. A member of the working group, Rottweilers are descended from hardworking herding dogs of ancient Roman times, and they retain a strong need for responsibility and purpose. Overall, the Rottweiler is basically a calm, confident, courageous dog. He has a wait-and-see attitude to influences in his environment and an inherent desire to protect home and family. Rottweilers are intelligent, and properly loved and cared for and trained, they are especially suited as a companion, guardian, and general all-purpose dog.

This is a Rottweiler therapy dog.

Hero absolutely loves his job.

Because Rottweiler are often portrayed in a negative light by the media, Hero and his pals are working to educate the public on the many positive things Rottweilers accomplish. In fact, Hero recently won an award for his work with people ages 3 to 93.

Rottweiler therapy dog Missouri

Eye contact and body language
show he's one happy dog.

Click here to read a story about Hero, the Therapy Dog, and see more pictures of this special Rottweiler at work and play.

.Happy Rottweiler surrounded by six happy children.

Hero is happiest surrounded by
children and books.

Hero, with his gentle and intuitive nature, calmly listened to the stories read to him by children of all ages. Here he was visiting Rose Brooks Center, where his presence, and sometimes goofy little smile, helped provide comfort to women and children victims of domestic violence.

Rottweiler therapy dog visits Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter.

Spending one-on-one time with children helps them build confidence and self-esteem.

After 18 months participating in a comparative onology study, dear Hero lost his battle with Lymphosarcoma in the summer of 2011.

Halo is Hero’s daughter, and she is following in his huge paw prints. She earned her CGC at just six months and passed the Delta Society® therapy dog evaluation when she was just one year old. Although Halo has shown promise in and apparently loves tracking, herding, agility, and obedience, her favorite activity is therapy work. She was bottle-raised and completely bonded to humans. Perhaps she thinks she is human!

Halo is a a trained search and rescue dog
as well as a working therapy dog.

Both Halo and Hero have been involved in several kinds of therapy work. When they know it’s visiting day, they jump around and dance to the car. They cannot wait to go. When it is time to end the visit and leave the facility, they will drag behind, not wanting to go away. There have been times when they will just sit by a patient and not want to move. It is obvious by their body language that they totally enjoy the interactions, and do not want to stop. People are always amazed that “Rotties” are such nice dogs.

Young Rottweiler therapy dog reads with children at Girl Scout Camp.

Halo read with over 500 children
in one week
at summer camp in 2011.

Like Hero in the previous five years, Halo helps teach children about safety around dogs in bite prevention programs as a DogGoneSafe presenter. She's truly in her element with the young Girl Scouts above. Which smile is the largest?