A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Reading to Dogs

Human beings have been using the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and every living thing that moveth upon the earth for a bazillion creative uses ever since the sixth day, when God gave man "dominion" over all the rest of creation. It might seem that by now every possible use would have been explored. But Therapy Dogs International, Inc. of Flanders, New Jersey, has a new program that seems quite original.

It's the "Children Reading to Dogs" program, developed within the last four or five years. "Once in school some children might have a little trouble learning how to read. It is so much fun for the children to read to a patient Therapy Dog. What an incentive!" reads their advertising copy.

This strategy obviously works best with little children who don't question the dogs' interest in hearing the stories they are struggling to read. The German shepherd in the picture certainly looks absorbed in the book his little towheaded companion is sharing with him. And who knows? Maybe the dog is getting more out of it than a cynical adult might imagine.

My Taz is a certified canine genius, and a bilingual one at that. Right now I'm working on a children's story about her. If it ever sees print, I think the least I could do would be to read it to her--or let a little kid do the honors. She'd probably love to hear it.