"Books are a child’s window to the world—no rules, just read!"
~ Vivian Kirkfield
All-Around READing Dogs
Montana ~ "Ziggy"  

Golden Retriever, Reading Education Assistance Dog

"I'm dressed and ready—hurry up!"

Jackie says she can tell that Ziggy truly LOVES her job. Currently, Jackie attends Montana State University and the two of them have volunteered at the campus during finals week as part of the Paws to De-Stress event held at the end of every semester. Ziggy loves visiting the older students as well! She brings many students a smile and a brief “brain break” to relieve themselves of some of the stress of finals. They have participated in De-Stress events in the residence halls, the campus library, and the College of Architecture. A smile actually comes across Ziggy's face when she's around these students.

Children love reading to this golden retriever.

Eager to be on the road, Ziggy
patiently waits for her personal driver.

She loves being able to make people happy! When her red bandanna and R.E.A.D. bag are brought out, she jumps around and wags her tail. She's ready to bring more smiles to faces and more laughter into someone’s life.

Golden Retriever therapy dog

Smiles all around
plenty to share with everyone.

Ziggy has truly been the best companion, friend, and therapy partner Jackie could ever ask for. Jackie says Ziggy has taught her many valuable things, and she knows Ziggy has showed kids that reading is fun!

From their very first therapy visit, Ziggy has loved it. Jackie is looking forward to the many visits they will have in the future and the many lives that Ziggy will change. She has that effect on people; she makes them happy the moment they see her. Jackie feels incredibly lucky to have this amazing dog in her life, to have learned all the things she has so far, and to be looking forward to all the things she will undoubtedly still learn from Ziggy.

Aww, gee—love your hugs,
but while Rambo watches?

When not visiting students, Ziggy loves fetching, running, hiking, biking, backcountry snowboarding, swimming, and snuggling with her best friend, their 13-year-old Westie named Rambo.

Life is very good!

Goldens are also known to have an instinctive love of water (they even have a water repellent coat), and Ziggy is no exception—she loves swimming more than anything!

Books about Golden Retrievers include:

Can I Be Good, by Livingston Taylor.
My Big Dog, by Janet Stevens.
Riptide, by Frances Ward Weller.

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

Ziggy is a purebred Golden Retriever, born June 16, 2012. Known for their intelligence, moderate size and energy level, and eager-to-please attitude, Golden Retrievers can be wonderful therapy dogs, providing comfort and friendship in hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, and schools. One of the most popular breeds in the United States, Goldens such as beautiful Ziggy make extraordinary R.E.A.D.® buddies for young students.

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

Whew, it's official and very exciting!
Time for a nap.

Jackie explains that Ziggy served as her unofficial therapy companion following an accident she had a few years back. Ziggy was so wonderful at bringing a smile to her face and a laugh to her mouth, it was obvious she could become an excellent therapy dog.

Jackie originally had considered registering with HOPE AACR, an organization that deals mainly with crisis relief, because it had always been something that intrigued her and she thought it would be a fantastic way to relieve people of any bit of stress they have during a crisis. After finding out that those animals needed to be registered therapy dogs as well, she became highly motivated to register Ziggy as a therapy animal. Once she learned about Intermountain Therapy Animals, they never really looked back. Ziggy is the first dog she has trained as a therapy dog.

Golden retriever, Delta Society Pet Therapy Literacy Dog

A very special R.E.A.D. team.

After registering with ITA, she decided to register Ziggy for the R.E.A.D. program because they both love children and reading. She wanted to spread the joy of reading with kids and show them how much fun it can be to lose yourself in a great book. Ziggy can show kids that even if they aren't speed readers, or even if they occasionally mix up some words when they read out loud, that reading isn't about being the "best." Reading is about having fun, and Ziggy is all about having fun.

Books are full of super stories.

In particular, Jackie recalls one student they worked with who wasn't comfortable reading aloud at all in class, but when it was just him reading to Ziggy, it was like he had been reading aloud forever! The way he interacted with Ziggy was amazing to watch. He only cared that Ziggy was listening and liked the story he was reading. And also the way Ziggy looked and listened to him was amazing. It was as if she was telling him, "It's okay, that word is kind of long. It's hard for me to pronounce too. Let's work through it together!"