"Animals are such agreeable friends—
they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms."
~ George Eliot
 
All-Around READing Dogs
Texas ~ "Dasher"  

This is a Saluki therapy dog smiling at a story read by a young girl in a library.

Smiling at a little girl's story.

During his Saturday visits in several Texas libraries, children sit and read to Dasher every 10 minutes for an hour. He also participates in preschool story time, introducing little ones to a gentle dog and helping them learn about pet care and safety around animals. Dasher and his owner, Alice, even received special recognition and a medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution for their contribution in winning the U.S. South Central Division Literacy Promotion contest.

 

This Saluki was nominated for  the 2010 AKC Award for Canine Excellence.

Dasher was nominated to receive the
2010 AKC Award for Canine Excellence.

Despite his busy reading and rehab schedule, Dasher finds time to participate in community events and fundraisers such as the Buddy Walk to promote understanding of Down syndrome; the Polycystic Kidney Disease Walk; the Dallas Police Department’s “Kids Health and Safety Fair”; the Garland Independent School District Family Night; and the Plano Independent School District Family Literacy Night.

Salukis look graceful and fragile but they have great strength and endurance for chasing quarry over long distances and rough terrain. Dasher’s strength and endurance enable him to excel in numerous areas. He has represented Salukis in “Meet the Breed” programs for Fort Worth, Tyler, and Greater Colin Kennel Clubs, and he has participated in the Pink Poodle Parade at Baylor Hospital for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research. Dasher is an exceptional Saluki and an outstanding R.E.A.D. team member, attracting people with his beauty and noble bearing and capturing their hearts with his gentleness and patience. 

 

Books about Salukis include:
Living with Infidels - The Diary of a Saluki, by Karen Ibbotson
Saluki, Hound of the Bedouin, by Julia Johnson
Saluki: The Desert Hound and the English Travelers Who Brought It to the West, by Brian Patrick Duggan
The Corpse that Wasn't There, by Gayle Nastasi

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

Meet DC Jedashi-Al-Sharq Dorah MC, LCX, CGC, also known as “Da'sharq” or “Dasher.”  Dasher is a Saluki, the breed known as the royal dog of Egypt and perhaps the oldest known breed of domesticated dog. Some historians have identified it as being a distinct breed as long ago as 329 BC., and similar carvings appeared in Egyptian tombs of 2100 BC. as well as in excavations of the Sumerian empire estimated at 7000-6000 BC. Salukis were held in such great esteem that their bodies were often mummified like those of the Pharaohs.

This is a white Saluki.

Dasher wins!

Dasher had an illustrious career in the show ring and was the #1 AKC Coursing Saluki in 2002 and 2003. Coursing events are held to develop, measure, and demonstrate the coursing skills of sighthounds such as Salukis, Greyhounds, Whippets, and other hounds bred to hunt by sight.

After several years of competition, Dasher is a now an official therapy dog registered with both Therapy Dogs Inc. and Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs. He spends many hours providing therapy in his own special way, including twice a week at Baylor Our Children’s House in Los Colinas and Frisco, Texas. He has helped a spinal-bifida child hold steady walking in new braces, served as an autistic child’s reward for performing tasks, helped a frightened child to find comfort in his soft fur, and calmed young siblings in hospital waiting rooms by being a furry friend.

This Saluki is a therapy dog, looking at a book and waiting for a child to read to him.

Ooh, looks like a great book.

Dasher regularly dons his R.E.A.D. tags and spends time in schools and libraries helping children with reading disabilities. At the library, Dasher helped one little boy overcome his inhibitions and gain enough confidence to read aloud back in his school classroom. Another boy was described by his mother as becoming more outdoing and confident and motivated to read, even volunteering to be interviewed for a feature story on the Paws 4 Reading pilot program. The child said, “You get to read to the dogs, they listen to you. You get to sit by them and they are very soft.”

 

     
 
 
 
 

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