"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
~Richard Steele

All-Around READing Dogs
North Carolina ~ Toby  

Goldendoodle resting with child reading to him.

One sweet look and Toby wins over patients
and staff alike!

The assistant librarian sometimes gives Toby dog treats, and a lot of the time he will take them and hide them somewhere so he can eat them later. Sometimes housekeeping will leave a note saying that they found one of his treats hidden under a couch cushion or behind some books on a bookshelf.

Nothing is as good as a wonderful book
to help everyone calm down.

Toby seems to love everyone. Frank says that it is a very good feeling to see a patient with depression brighten up when they come in to visit. He has received notes from patients after they have been discharged saying that Toby was the bright spot of their otherwise depressing day.    

There are not many children's stories with a Lhasa Apso in them, but a few include:

Daughter of the Mountains, by Louise S. Rankin
Real Dogs Don't Whisper, by Kelly Preston

Many stories have been written about terriers, such as the following:

Ivan the Terrier, by Peter Catalanotto
Nicky the Swamp Dog: A True Story, by Jacklyn Sonnier Hirshbert
The McDuff Stories (several in the series), by Rosemary Wells



Meet Toby, another therapy dog lucky enough to be adopted from a rescue center. When Frank saw Toby on the website, he knew he just had to bring him into his home. He drove to South Carolina for him, and together they have entered the world of helping others.

Toby is a Lhasa Apso and terrier mix. Lhasas are uniquely described as “joyful and mischievous, dignified and aloof.” The breed originated hundreds of years ago in the Himalayan Mountains where it served primarily guarding homes of Tibetan nobility and Buddhist monasteries. The first Lhasas came to the United States as gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama. Lhasa Apsos thrive living with adults or families with older children. They come in many colors, from light blonde to black, and the black tipping on Toby’s ears and face is common to the breed.

There are many breeds of terriers, but they are typically known to be feisty and energetic. Originally bred to hunt and kill vermin, today most terriers are kept as companion dogs and family pets. They are generally loyal and affectionate. Toby exhibits the best of all breeds.

Therapy dog, a Lhasa Apso-Terrier on duty.

People smile seeing Toby, the
hunter/killer/guard dog on duty!

Toby has lived with Frank since 2006, and they enjoy a special calling. Toby is a pet therapy dog at Broughton State Psychiatric Hospital in Morganton, North Carolina. They have other pet therapy dogs there at the hospital that live on Broughton’s farm, but Toby is the only therapy dog that lives off the grounds. Once in a while they go to the different wards and classes, but Toby usually just works in the library.

This is a picture of a goldendoodle therapy dog relaxing after listening to children's stories.

Seriously, reading is good for you.

Toby likes to sit with the patients, but Frank noticed he likes it best when they play with him. Toby seems to have an innate understanding of a patient’s needs. Sometimes he will be up on the sofa with a patient and the patient will just be talking away with him and petting him.

Lhasa Apso therapy dog visits patients.

Frank and Toby take a break
between visiting patients .

In the entire hospital, Frank says there are only two patients who are either afraid of him or they just don’t like dogs. When one of them comes in with a group, Toby stays behind the counter with Frank so they don’t have any trouble. It’s important to be extra careful in that type of atmosphere, because a normally docile patient might suddenly have a very strong negative reaction.