By Kristi Reed
As library patrons stood outside waiting for the Dacula Library to open on Saturday, March 8, they were joined by four special visitors: Bella, Hope, Libby and Ruby. The foursome, part of Dacula-based Therapy Dogs International (TDI) Chapter #193, were there to help with a very important mission -- encouraging children to read.
Several times a month, members of TDI visit Gwinnett Library branches to listen to younger patrons read as part of the "Doggie Tales" program. The dogs provide young readers with a friendly, non-judgmental listener that will enjoy whatever story is being read, regardless of any mistakes. The experience is designed to help children view reading in a positive way.
Rebecca Keeble brought her dog Bella to Saturday's event. Bella, a pug and Boston Terrier mix, has been a therapy dog for about four years. Keeble explained that Bella and the other dogs go through initial training and testing to join TDI and then undergo annual training and physical examinations as a condition of continued participation in the program. In addition to visiting libraries, Keeble and Bella -- like other TDI participants -- also visit schools, hospitals and retirement homes.
To learn more, visit the Therapy Dogs International website.
"Doggie Tales" returns to the Dacula Library on Saturday, April 12, at noon. Other nearby "Doggie Tales" events will be held at the Buford Library on Saturday, April 5, at 12:15 p.m. and the Hamilton Mill Library on Saturday, April 26, at noon. For a complete listing of all Gwinnett "Doggie Tales" events, see the Gwinnett County Public Library event calendar.
Northern Gwinnett County news including the cities of Dacula, Ga. and Buford, Ga.