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Dobes Dobles +1
Eva 10 y/o Dobe HADR, Lanah Chi-Cairn X 6 y/o, RIP Sunking's Spock, Lillah Chi-Terrier X
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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! :2smile:

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. :2smile:

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! :grin2:
 

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Mocha
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How awesome; good job!
 

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That's awesome! I love the "reading to dogs" programs!
 

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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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Dobes Dobles +1
Eva 10 y/o Dobe HADR, Lanah Chi-Cairn X 6 y/o, RIP Sunking's Spock, Lillah Chi-Terrier X
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Discussion Starter #12
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. :laugh:
 

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Dobes Dobles +1
Eva 10 y/o Dobe HADR, Lanah Chi-Cairn X 6 y/o, RIP Sunking's Spock, Lillah Chi-Terrier X
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
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!:2smile:

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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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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Dobes Dobles +1
Eva 10 y/o Dobe HADR, Lanah Chi-Cairn X 6 y/o, RIP Sunking's Spock, Lillah Chi-Terrier X
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3,753 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
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. :2smile:
 

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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:2smile:
 
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