Kids curl up with therapy dog, good book at West Duluth libraryIt’s a good thing Carolyn Sturdevant’s Shetland sheepdogs are quiet. Barking dogs and libraries just don’t mix.
By: Tom Olsen, Duluth News Tribune
It’s a good thing Carolyn Sturdevant’s Shetland sheepdogs are quiet. Barking dogs and libraries just don’t mix.
Sturdevant brought one of her shelties, Tracy, to the West Duluth library Monday afternoon for a reading session with children. A handful of kids, and their parents, turned out to read with Tracy.
“She is good,” said 5-year-old Anja Bucar of her new friend. “She sits quietly.”
That’s just what Sturdevant wanted to see. Her pets are trained therapy dogs, and she frequently brings them to libraries and nursing homes.
During the hourlong event, kids picked out their favorite books and read to Tracy one-on-one, with their parents. Tracy rarely moved, instead simply cuddling up with the children and accepting a lot of petting.
The dogs are always willing to lend an ear to children learning to read, Sturdevant said.
“Kids can read, and the dogs are not going to ever make fun of their reading,” she said. “Without negative feedback, they learn so much better.”
Sturdevant has had therapy dogs for about 12 years and brings them to the Superior Public Library twice a month. But this was her first time reading with kids in Duluth.
“It’s good to get kids back to the library and reading books,” she said. “With so many electronic things like video games today, I love to see them come to the library and pick out a good book to read.”
Andrea Pearson, the West Duluth branch librarian, said she was excited when Sturdevant approached her with the idea of bringing in therapy dogs for kids.
“It’s a very relaxing environment, especially for kids that find reading stressful or express anxiety about reading,” Pearson said. “They just love the dogs.”
Sturdevant is scheduled to return with one of her dogs Nov. 18 and Dec. 16 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Reservations are not taken in advance.