Nicki is a 4-year-old Shiloh Shepherd. Shiloh Shepherds are a rare breed that look somewhat like a long-haired German Shepherd. They are known to do just about anything and everything their owners ask of them, asking for only love in return. It is said their large size, intelligence, versatility, and endurance come from working breeds such as the German Shepherd and Alaskan Malamute, and these traits help them perform well in many areas such as therapy and assistance work, obedience trials, agility competition, search and rescue teams, and as guard dogs, not to mention making them great companions.
Nicki became a registered therapy dog when she was less than 1-½ years old. She seemed to love it, and she brought pleasure to the patients by always offering them her paw. Nicki is the first Shiloh Shepherd to be involved with the R.E.A.D.® program. Although a very successful therapy dog, Nicki had not been raised around small children and no one was sure how she would react in a library setting. It was a wonderful surprise to see such a big dog enjoy the children the way she did. Apparently she knew what they wanted of her, and she was always happy to oblige. She began monthly visits to the library, and also occasionally helped out at the local schools.
Nicki and the little ones.
In 2006, the Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center found out that Nicki was doing this program and asked about having her come into the school to work with autistic and troubled children, as well as with preschoolers. Amazingly, that challenge came naturally to her. When she began at the school, the children adored her. She would lie there for them so they could just touch and pet her knowing that she wasn’t going to hurt them. Children too young to read would sing songs or recite rhymes to her that they had learned from their teachers.