Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx
Research is showing how putting together dogs plus books is a win-win situation—for kids that is. All Ears Reading, a literacy program, in conjunction with the University of California-Davis, has paired rescue dogs with third graders. The kids practice reading aloud to their animal friends. The results are encouraging. The third-graders became better and more fluent readers. And why not? Dogs are the ultimate nonjudgmental creatures. Mispronounce a word or stumble over an awkward sentence and no dog in the world will laugh at you.
For myself I’ve always enjoyed reading a good book with Pablo cuddled beside me or at the end of the sofa, keeping my feet warm. This wasn’t the case with one of my first dogs. Emily, a gorgeous German shorthair pointer, was very highly strung. Besides cats and squirrels, she absolutely hated anyone reading while she was in the room. Many were the times I’d be sitting beside her, reading, either for school (I was in college at the time) or pleasure, when she would grab the book from my hands and toss it to the floor. Once in a fit of pique she tore a paperback to pieces before I could rescue it. I think she resented my attention being on something other than herself.