"Words are often seen hunting for an idea,
but ideas are never seen hunting for words."
~Josh Billings

All-Around READing Dogs
Wisconsin ~ "Molly"  

Chesapeake Bay Retriever teasing for someone to chase her.

Who could resist chasing this teaser?

Molly’s mischievous personality is a delight to young readers. She even smiles to beg forgiveness if she’s done something naughty.  She loves to be in the classroom and once she’s on the reading blanket, she is perfectly calm and thoroughly enjoys cuddle time with the readers. A picture storybook has been made of Molly’s first year to introduce her to new readers. The repeating theme of the book is “Golly Molly, what have you done?” It gets the kids laughing and talking more freely to Molly for their next selected book. The kids realize she is a kid just like them, and they empathize with her as they, too, struggle to sit nicely at their desks and pay attention. They are learning how to help Molly be a calmer therapy dog by acting calm themselves.


This Chesapeake Bay Retriever is splashing in the bathtub.

Molly loves tubby time.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a sporting breed, known for its remarkable ability to remember where a bird has fallen and to retrieve one after another again and again without a problem. Molly's favorite activity continues to be hunting, as is her breed's nature.  During hunting season Molly does not do therapy work. Hunting season, which is the first two months of the school year, is her time to be a Chessie, and during those months the teachers have time to decide which readers would benefit most from reading to her.  Therapy work reinforces obedient behaviors in the field and keeps her well socialized to be a better family member in the home. 


This Chesapeake Bay Retriever is proud of the bird she holds gently in her mouth.

Molly wags not just her tail but her whole body
when showing off her prize.

Having powerful limbs and webbed feet, a Chessie is an extraordinary swimmer. Although it is a very strong dog, it has a tender bite enabling it to gently carry birds without damage.

Books about Chesapeake Bay Retrievers include:

Chester the Chesapeake, by Barbara Ebel
Dara: Autobiography of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, by Lolo Sarnoff
Life with Grover. A Chesapeake Bay Retriver who thought he was a person, by Alexander Crosby Brown

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


Molly is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. It is believed Chessies developed from several breeds such as the Newfoundland, Irish Water Spaniel, and Bloodhound, and they are one of the few breeds originating in the United States.  Chessies are large active dogs that need daily exercise.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever laying with Kong toy.

Molly loves a good workout.

They especially love long vigorous walks or chance to swim, but in spite of being active outside they tend to be calm indoors. 

This Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a therapy dog, listening to stories at the library.

Nicknamed "Molly the Moose," Molly
loves being with children.

Molly is the second therapy literacy dog in her family, filling the pawprints of another Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Kayla when she had to retire. As any two dogs of the same breed can differ, Molly has a different personality than Kayla. Molly is dominant where Kayla was submissive, she needs to work in a situation where she is the only dog, and her endless energy means she needs an extra workout both the day before and the day of her therapy visits to ensure a more calm reading experience. Her handlers are learning to adapt her training, adjust the reading program, and work with her to reinforce good behavior. Molly works in a third grade class at Fall River School.  Her owner is in the process of helping the Columbus Public Library start a monthly READ To A Dog night.