"Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere."
~ Mary Schmich
All-Around READing Dogs
New Hampshire ~ "Reilly"  

Child reading to Irish Setter.

Read it to me one more time, please!

Reilly is very active as a therapy dog. He visits an independent/dependent facility, has been a part of the Pease Greeters at Portsmouth Air Base, and has visited the local hospital’s Oncology Unit. He even helped raise $60,000 for “On Course for Kids,” an event held in Boston, Massachusetts, for children with cancer.

Irish Setter looking at a book.

Oh boy, this is a great story.

Irish Setters have boundless energy and need lots of exercise. An hour or more each day of running and playing games would suit Reilly fine. Luckily, he gets to compete in sports and has earned titles in agility and is now working on titles in hunt and tracking. A quick learner, Reilly started obedience at age 9 and within 3 months earned his CD (Companion Dog). He then earned his CDX (Companion Dog Excellent), and Rally Excellent. Intelligent and beautiful, Reilly has been photographed for calendars, has had several stories about him and his R.E.A.D. friends printed in the local newspaper, and was featured on TV Chronicle for the R.E.A.D. program.

Happily, life is not all work and no play. One of Reilly’s favorite things to do is go to the beach and chase seagulls. He also shares his days with his adopted brother, Rusty, a retired member of R.E.A.D.

Books with Irish Setters include:
Big Red, by Jim Kjelgaard
Irish Red, by Jim Kjelgaard
Red Alert (Puppy Patrol), by Jenny Dale
Ten Little Puppies, by Marian Harris

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

Sadly, our special Reilly passed over the Rainbow Bridge in September 2010. Always up for a challenge, he was in Nosework classes and training for his first hunt test when he succumbed to post-surgical pneumonia.



Reilly is an Irish Setter. Bred in Ireland for hunters who needed a fast-working, keen-nosed dog large enough to be seen from a distance, these beautiful dogs were originally mostly white with some red. Before the advent of firearms, these setters were used to “set” game, crouching low near the birds so hunters could walk up and cast a net over bird and dog. Later, they adapted into a gun dog that pointed, flushed, and hunted in an upright position. Over the years, the solid red or rich mahogany color became popular, especially in America where the Irish Setter was principally a show dog and pet rather than a hunting dog.

Bred to be hunting dogs, Irish Setters have a high level of energy. They approach everything in life with a good-natured attitude, ever-wagging tail, and rollicking friendliness. This is a sociable dog, eager to please and happiest living with its family. Like most family members, they can be very charismatic and then just as mischievous.

Irish Setter

Artists have called the Irish Setter
the most beautiful of all dogs.

Reilly has earned his Canine Good Citizen award and is a Delta Society Pet Partner. He visits the library every Monday evening, settling down in his own special corner of the library on his own special blanket. Children from pre-kindergarten to grade 3 read to him, choosing from a basket of books nearby or bringing one from home. Reilly has listened to children who could read just one or two words in the beginning but in a short time could read the whole book to him and soon even chapter books. After a child has read five books to Reilly, he or she can choose a book from the treasure chest. The librarian writes a little saying in the book and Reilly pawtographs it, making it a very special keepsake.

One of his favorite friends was having difficulty in math and decided maybe Reilly could help him just like he did with reading. The boy brought some simple math problems and asked Reilly to point to the correct answer.

Therapy dog, Irish Setter, with children in the library.

Reilly loves special attention and
posing for pictures with children.

Reilly has a mailbox in the library where he receives letters, cards, and drawings. And yes, he answers them all. Children react to him on a personal level as if he were one of them because he so nonjudgmental. He and his owner, Ann, make a point of showing that sometimes Reilly makes mistakes, and that is okay. During his reading sessions, he sometimes shows off a few of his tricks. The one children like best is where he reads several words; being an Irish Setter, he can be very silly at times and occasionally will miss a word.