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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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New Doberman Reading Buddy

Today Spock made his first weekly Read With Me (RWM) visit to our local elementary school (despite driving wind and cold rain). I was so proud of him as a great representative of the Doberman breed!

As part of his Pet Partners Therapy certification, Spock & I are participating in the Read With Me initiative. Today's visit followed a shadow visit by myself with another therapy dog team to the same school on 1 Oct. I then took Spock into the school last Monday (on Columbus Day school holiday) to tour the school and get him familiar with the school and staff, sans students. That prep work paid off today with his first actual reading session visit, despite the terrible fall (winter?) weather.


Here's Spock's "Read With Me" 2-sided bookmarks given to each reader:



Spock was well mannered on our entry and transit to the assigned reading room, empty and well carpeted. When walking with my handsome Doberboy through the hallways every teacher and student wanted to pet him and he just soaked up the adoration! We picked up and dropped off each reading student at his/her classrooms and the the kids in each class were thrilled to see a Doberman visit their classroom.

Spock behaved exactly as needed during the reading sessions with him lying calmly between myself and the student reader. He relaxed as practiced and watched the book to "read" with the student. (The students are encouraged to read the book to the dog) Occasionally Spock would touch the student with his paw, Doberman style, to remind him he still needed attention during the reading. I was afraid Spock might startup his Dober-whine after a long reading session, but this never occurred. The frequent breaks to transit the hallways to change out students gave him needed breaks from becoming bored.

Only situation I did intentionally avoid was getting trapped in hallways in middle of class change processions of students which might have flooded Spock with sensory overload. So, we just waited in reading room or stood by in adjacent hall until the student groups passed. I will be more daring during future visits. I did not encounter one student or teacher who was afraid of my Spock, the Doberman.

Spock is really cut out for this type of volunteer reading assistance work. He seems to have an unlimited capacity of affection for human admirers (more than we both can give him at home, even with 24/7/365 attention)! That's the reason I enrolled him into the Pet Partners Therapy Dog program.

Needless to say, when we finally got home, Mr. Spock took a long, well deserved nap- giving so much affection to so many people is extremely tiring to his Doberman brain!


Ten Doberman Rules
Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!

Last edited by spocksdad; 10-15-2018 at 09:24 PM.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 09:19 PM
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How cool!!

I didn't really need encouragement or help reading as a kid, but I might have pretended to just so I would get a chance to sit with Spock.
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 10:10 PM
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That is awesome.

"Lots of people talk to animals...Not very many listen, though...That's the problem. " ~ The Tao of Pooh
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 10:49 PM
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Great job Spock & Dad -- Sounds like a neat deal ! I might add - Good thing no fire truck drove by -- lol
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 08:12 AM
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Awesome, Congrats!
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 08:55 AM
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Awesome news. I retired from teaching elementary school after 30 yrs. When reading to a dog children do not have the fear of someone correctly them. The dog just lays there and listens. Great job Team Spock
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 10:32 AM
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How awesome; good job!



She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader. She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart. You owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 09:28 PM
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That's awesome! I love the "reading to dogs" programs!


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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 06:35 AM
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Spocksdad --- Question -- How long did one student read to Spock ? And how long were you there ? Like half a day or all day ?

Thanks and congrats again -

Ken
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 08:19 AM
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That is awesome to hear! My female husky, Athena, is in a similar program but we go to our local library instead of a school. The only problem we've ever experienced is many of the children get distracted with how fluffy Athena is (she's a woolly husky) and want to just pet her instead of reading! -

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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 08:37 AM
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Way to go Spock! Great way to spend a day......love this !!

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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECIN View Post
Spocksdad --- Question -- How long did one student read to Spock ? And how long were you there ? Like half a day or all day ?

Thanks and congrats again -

Ken
Ken- First reading day sessions lasted 1-1/2 hours- a good time period between pee breaks for Spock, who seems to have an unlimited supply of the stuff, in addition to his affection for humans.


Ten Doberman Rules
Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spocksdad View Post
Ken- First reading day sessions lasted 1-1/2 hours- a good time period between pee breaks for Spock, :

That's not nice SD to blame pee breaks on poor ole Spock -- lol
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 10:01 AM
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This makes my heart so happy!
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-23-2018, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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2nd Week Reading Visit Update

Had highly successful second week elementary school visit by Spock and myself as part of RWM (Read With Me) program. He now anticipates his weekly visits and gets mighty happy when we are gearing up with his Pet Partners vest, getting ready for "school".

This week we conducted the reading sessions in normal library location (closed to general students on Mondays to accommodate RWM program). During one student change out, we got passed by (4) full classes in succession- proceeding to PE class, in the hallway.

This was Spock's first real exposure to very large (est. 100) and noisy crowds of children. He did extremely well and remained calm, but curious. Another teacher & myself moved with him off to opposite side of hallway. (sort of human shields per guidebook) Biggest problem was to keep the "kiddos" (that's what they call them in SA) from breaking ranks, wanting to pet Spock as the went by!

When we passed by any drinking fountains in hallways, Spock would longingly look at them. I could tell he was getting thirsty. He drinks from these fountains, when not dog equipped, when we're at the walking trail parks. So, reading director brought him a small bowl of water. I ordered a collapsible dog bowl w/clip for our future visits. So far, he has had no problem with getting bored or having to pee during the RWM sessions.

During reading sessions, Spock was very relaxed in his down, prone position and "read" along with student reader. After a while, he would lay over and put head down, getting really relaxed. A few times he did get up to look at some Kinder students coming in library. I would love to get a picture of Spock with the student reader but Pet Partners and school policies require releases, etc. However, he's setting a very fine example for Dobermans during these visits!

Also met the only two teachers in school that are Doberman owners. I mentioned DobermanTalk forum to them, as they admired and petted Spock...
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Ten Doberman Rules
Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!

Last edited by spocksdad; 10-23-2018 at 02:49 PM.
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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-23-2018, 03:19 PM
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I'm really enjoying following Spock's activity as a reading partner. The first dog (and friend) who participated in one of these programs was in Richland, Washington and the dog was Ch Foxfire's Imaginary Monster CD RE CGC TDI LC11L (I think probably he is no longer with us--the dog--I'll let you all guess what his call name was) but since he was whelped in 2003 he's probably gone to his well deserved rest. A big red dog who liked people and really liked kids he was part of the Reading To Dogs program in Richland for many years--as I recall he retired when he was over 10.

His specialty was with kids who didn't read well--and he did a couple of two hour visits twice a week--and was VERY popular with the boys. They had the groups arranged so that there were four chairs arranged in a semi-circle around a big dog bed. Three of the kids and the dogs owner sat in the chairs and the reader sat with the dog on the dog bed and read for 15 minutes and then another kid took over the reading.

The Dobe (and yes, his call name was Shreq) was a half brother to Toad and a shirt tail relative to 4 x 4 John's Foxfire dogs.

It was a very successful program I guess (reading to animals is a very good way to improve reading ability--a roommate of mine had one of her stepkids reading to one of my cats after he came to live with them--it was kind of odd sight--a small boy reading to a small yellow stripey cat--it always amazed me that the cat would hang out on the couch as long as the kid read out loud...

Congratulations Spock--you do good work.
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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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5 Month Update- Spock Read With Me Visits

Just an update to say Spock and I are still continuing our weekly Read With Me school visits in the Pet Partners (PP) Therapy Dog program.

We have been attending for 5-months on Mondays, or on Tuesdays when school holiday falls on Monday. Spock (and I) just love the school visits, helping the student to read and comprehend better. The biggest revelation I found is the love and admiration the kiddos have for Spock, not being afraid of a Doberman! I suppose these young ones, from Pre-K to 5th grade haven't been exposed to the bad Doberman stereotypes of the 70's and 80's movies and TV.

Spock has behaved absolutely ideal in all the visits! I am so proud of him. Upon check in at the registration desk the assistant (older lady) initially was a little afraid of Spock, but now she gives him a handful of Cheerios as he puts his big Dober paws up on the counter! We normally work out of the Library on Mondays, but use an alternate, empty classroom with large carpet on Tuesdays.

I have a Read With Me logo'd shoulder tote bag (to keep hands free) equipped with everything for the reading sessions as recommended by the PP Read With Me guidebook. This includes treats, water, collapsible bowl, napkins, towels, poop bags, laminated school map & holiday calendar, flashlight, extra lead, first aid kit, notebook, pens, plus more. I have my PP ID laminated and Spock's Rabies cert both in his PP vest and on outside of the bag. (Have to leave unattended bag in library or reading room when changing out students)

During the first few visits we avoided the large groups of classes passing in the hallways, but now we pass them with impunity. We hear several kids call out "Spock!" or "Puppy!" when we pass. With the student readers, Spock sits down between me and the student in a down position. During the 30 minute reading sessions, Spock will lay on side and touch the student or myself with his big paw as the story is read. I will try to get some photos taken at some point, but this requires releases by school and parents. I can definitely see improvement in the student's reading, confidence and presentation skills.

At end of each reading session the student will give some treats to Spock when he completes an obedience task/trick for them. We also give him some water in collapsible rubber bowl from small bottle, as I've found he gets thirsty. I have never had him get anxious during sessions except this last Monday's visit, where I found he needed to potty #2 when getting home. He indicated this by getting up several times and making circles during last reading session. Like a champ, he held it until we got home (5-minute ride). I normally have him potty in back yard before leaving for school and he pee's in garden area at front of school before checking in.

Many times, when picking up/dropping off the students at their classrooms, the entire class will come to door to pet Spock, who I bring inside the room some. He always sniffs the trash as the kids eat snacks and throw away remnants. Spock has behaved perfectly, even when having (10) pairs of hand on him petting at once! (He's probably thinking- "Bring it on- I just can't get enough love and attention!") Due to his love of food, and mooching skills, Spock will never go into the cafeteria!

If anything, the only issue has been the other Read With Me therapy dog who visits before us on Mondays. The female golden-doodle barks at Spock when she sees him passing in hallways and a few times, he returned it. So now, I make sure to stay out in parking lot until the other dog clears the entrance, then head in. Spock is use to females talking smack to him- he lives with our Eva, a female Dobe! Other handler, (same one I shadowed on an early visits) says a Doberman lives behind her house and barks at her dog over property line, explaining her dog's reaction to Spock. I guess to other dogs, all Dobermans look (smell) alike?

I always stop at our local coffee kiosk (not SB's) drive thru on way home and reward Spock with a Pupuccino (whip cream in little cup w/biscuit) On next update, hope to have some pics for you.


Ten Doberman Rules
Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!

Last edited by spocksdad; 02-26-2019 at 02:42 PM.
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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 03:06 PM
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A BG ATTA BOY to SPOCK ! And his trainer !
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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 05:04 PM
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This is awsome, I don't know how I missed this before. It's great what you and Spock are doing for the kids and for our breed.
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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 08:00 PM
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Wish they had this program when I was in school........I did not enjoy reading very much.
Wanted to move versus sit.....a pup would have kept me in place for sure.
Spock you are such a good citizen

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post #21 of 37 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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Spock Read With Me Update.....

Here is photo montage entered into this month's calendar contest showing Spock "in action" so to speak, while conducting reading sessions with four of his students during weekly Read With Me initiative under the Pet Partner's Therapy Animal program. Remember, his job during the reading sessions is to remain calm and listen to the students read, which he did, a bit too well on that particular day. (a big accomplishment for a hyper Doberboy) At the end of each session, the kids get treats to have Spock perform tricks or obedience. Action time comes between sessions escorting students to/from their classrooms. Then, Spock interacts with dozens of students and staff in hallways and classrooms.



Spock During Four Weekly "Read With Me" Therapy Dog Sessions




As explained in my calendar thread submission post, I had to get Pet Partners and school district photo releases from parents for the pictures, which my wife took. Since the releases are for publishing in the Pet Partner's web and print publications, I made a non-ID photo montage of the students for DT posting.

If and when the students pictures are published by Pet Partners or my local affiliate, Delta Pet Partners of San Antonio, then I will provide the links in these in this thread.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Spock attended his first Party!

Yesterday, the elementary school where Spock visits, held a nice end-of-year tea party for all the volunteers that help out at the school, including Spock and myself. The other therapy dog reading team was unable to attend, but about 40 persons and one Doberman, Spock, attended!

This was his first party, a gathering of about all adults and a few students in an auxiliary small classroom, setup with a food/drink table and eating tables. I knew enough to keep Mr. Spock away from the food/drink table, so we sat in a row of seating along the wall, near the door, if he needed a break. He was a bit reserved at first- ears down and scooched between my legs, like in the vet waiting room... After a while, when everyone was eating and chatting, I got some mixed nuts for him and his water bowl out and the ears went up, he perked up! I also shared with him some cantaloupe and honey dew melon pieces, which he loves.

There was a lot of interest in Spock, Dobermans and the Therapy Dog program during the gathering. After a while, everyone moved to the school forum (central hall) where the choir sang a nice song, with music for the volunteers. This was Spock's first live choral/music experience as well and he was well behaved and curious.

Only thing he was a bit uncomfortable with was a whole class of Pre-K kids moving in front of us, blocking him in against the wall during the singing presentation. I just kept massaging his ears, then went out front for a potty break when the song ended. Spock also took some end of year photos with the office admin. at the check out desk when we left. One more visit next week and a successful school year will come to a close....
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Ten Doberman Rules
Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!

Last edited by spocksdad; 05-30-2019 at 07:59 AM.
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post #22 of 37 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 08:03 AM
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Thanks for the update SD ! Am so happy for both of up - how rewarding !

Congrats to both of you ! What a great team the both of you make !
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post #23 of 37 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 08:11 AM
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So proud of you Spock........as soon as it seems the whole world is broke along comes a person like you!
So refreshing to hear good news............we love you!
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post #24 of 37 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 08:35 AM
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This is so awesome. Thanks for the update. Love it!
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post #25 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Spock Exhausted After Successful School Year !

Just thought I'd make a final update to this thread of Spock's Read With Me experience at local elementary school since starting in October.

Our last school visit on Monday was the last of this school year and turned out to be the longest and most fatiguing for Spock (and myself). We had regular three student for final reading sessions and one was absent. The 5th grader girl student gave both me and Spock some cute doggie thank you cards for reading with her during the year.

After lunch, Spock, myself and our 2nd grade female student gave a presentation to her class, entitled "Dobermans As Therapy Dogs?" We did this as a confidence building exercise, reading in front of her peers. Presentation was a brief history of Doberman origin, types and characteristics, coming to America, war dog experience and up to present day. Also included at end of PowerPoint was a Pet Partners Working dogs classification chart.

The young student and I split the slide text reading and Spock performed a good sit/stay and I gave him head rubs during most of the presentation. Near the end, when he was more comfortable, he laid down on the carpet and the student started petting on him. We fielded lots of questions about Dobermans, cropping of ears and tail docking, demeanor, life span, etc. I demonstrated Doberman ear perks with key words (squirrel) and treats...
My big joke during the show was to compare keeping a litter of 12 Dobes still in one of the pictures, to the teacher keeping her 2nd graders in line and still!

Spock performed obedience tasks at the end of the show and then all the kids in the class (22) got a one-on-one petting/ scratching session with him. He was calm and loving with the kids during the entire classroom experience.
We made (2) preventative potty breaks during this long visit. At the end of the (2) solid hours of reading/ escorting/ interacting/ presenting tasks in the school and interacting with over 65 people, Spock was ready to go home... (Our normal visit is 1.5 hrs length)

We hope to do some other Therapy dog tasks during the summer, either assisted living visits or more readings with kids at our Public Library. I will be prepping Eva for her Therapy dog evals in August, a couple weeks before school starts.

After stopping by the coffee drive-thru kiosk and getting our usual Pup-A-Chino for Spock, we went home. I leave you with a picture of Spock crashed on Mommy's bed, using his recently learned skill of using a pillow (since we stopped crating in 2018)


Spock Crashed After Completing Successful Year of Read-With-Me School Visits !
(One affection overloaded & mentally exhausted Dobe)

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Ten Doberman Rules
Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!
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