Lottie Dot and Dora are Dalmatians. Although easily recognized by their distinctive spotted coat, Dalmatian puppies actually are born with pure white hair, the spots being in the pigment of their skin. At about two weeks of age, their white coat develops into black or liver (brown) spots as it grows.
Dalmatians typically have a stable and outgoing temperament. They are known to be a people-loving, fun-loving, but a very high-energy breed that needs daily exercise. Lottie Dot and Dora definitely have these traits of enthusiasm and playfulness. They are outstanding R.E.A.D. and therapy dogs, and they do lots of tricks, making learning fun.
Special ed students have a special time with a
very special dog.
Getting and keeping a child motivated is what they do best. These two absolutely do not sleep through reading sessions, and the school staff as well as the students love it when the dogs really participate. Their owner, Pat, says it’s nice to go back the next week and have the children ask for her dogs by name. It makes her feel she’s doing her part by teaching them.
You got the word right
high five from Lottie Dot!
Lottie Dot was rescued off the interstate during a snowstorm when she was just 8 weeks old. Dora came to Pat at 3 months after her breeder noticed something special about her and had read about Lottie Dot’s accomplishments.
Dora practices for her weekly reading session
with a dyslexic child.
Lottie Dot and Dora are also very special because they are both deaf. About 30% of Dalmatians are born deaf. Deaf dogs are welcome to become registered therapy dogs, but they have to pass the difficult tests the same as hearing dogs. That hasn’t held these two back; for example, Dora passed her Canine Good Citizen test when she was just 8 months old.
Dora likes to turn the pages.
It is important that training begin very early for a deaf dog. Because of this training challenge, Pat has learned to “think outside the box.” Using hand signals, she taught them to look at the words on the pages and point to them on command. If readers make mistakes, she can tell them that Lottie Dot (or Dora) didn’t understand that word and would they please repeat it.
A banner announces Lottie Dot is here today.
This R.E.A.D. team specializes in reading therapy in schools, working with children who are abused and/or who have speech and language difficulties, and they also do several summer R.E.A.D. programs in libraries. For several years, the dogs have worked in a high school special ed class.
A polite sign discourages interruptions.
Whether it’s working on self-esteem, speech difficulties, or emotional problems, the kids don’t mind reading to a dog because the dogs won’t judge them or laugh at them. They make reading fun!