"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
~ Winston Churchill
 
All-Around READing Dogs
New York ~ "Mugsy" & "Skimmer"  

One of the places Mugsy and Elizabeth visit is P.S. 177, a special education school in Queens which is part of the New York City public school system. There, Mugsy works as a therapy dog as well as in the program of Reading Education Assistance Dogs. Students range from kindergarten through high school, and they are eager for a chance to read to him. Some have a hard time understanding and following directions, but they read entire books to Mugsy.

Child learning to read practices by reading to a dog.

Mugsy helps a reader
keep the page in place.

When Mugsy is getting dressed up with his TDInc. bandana, he wags his tail in excitement because he knows he'll be going someplace interesting. Perhaps today will incude a trip to the A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in Uniondale, New York, where he has worked several years. There are always happy exclamations of "It's Mugsy!" when he arrives. Mugsy makes friends everywhere.

Portuguese Water Dog therapy dog

Children at The School at Columbia University raised money to donate to R.E.A.D. in honor of Mugsy, and the R.E.A.D. organization itself made a donation to Mugsy to buy books to give to children in New York. Mugsy also demonstrated the R.E.A.D. program at a big dog show, to help people learn about therapy dog work and the reading program.

Books about Portuguese Water Dogs include:

Hardworking Puppies , by Lynn Reiser
My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D.C., by Edward Kennedy
Portuguese Water Dog 2008 Calendar

Mugsy is a black 9-year-old Portuguese Water Dog (PWD). Skimmer, a brown PWD, was born on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005. Both Mugsy and Skimmer are registered with Therapy Dogs Inc. and both, with their owner, Elizabeth, are involved with the Reading Education Assistance Dogs® (R.E.A.D.®) program. Mugsy and Elizabeth have been volunteering with children in libraries and school classrooms since 2004.Woman with Portuguese water dogs in front of New York Library.

All smiles after an afternoon
of being with children .

Portuguese Water Dogs are medium-sized, usually described a “spirited but obedient” and known for their love of water. The PWD is a swimmer and diver of exceptional ability and amazing stamina. Like retrievers, Newfoundlands, Otterhounds, some spaniels, and most large hunting breeds, the PWD has webbed feet. In years past this breed was invaluable to fishermen at sea for whom its work of retrieving broken nets, herding schools of fish, and carrying messages between boats and to shore were daily activities.

As traditional fishing methods gave way to modernization, the breed had virtually died out by the 1950s; however, about that time the first of the breed was brought to America, and since the mid-1980s it has gained popularity and is proving itself as a fun-loving family dog typically good with children, and other dogs and pets.


Sadly, sweet Mugsy crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on June 20, 2011.

In January 2016, Skimmer joined Mugsy over the bridge. Their friends all hope these two are happily together again.

 

     
 
 
 
 

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