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.
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.
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!"