June 5, 2016
Yes, we are currently certified with Therapy Dog International, the very first therapy dog organization founded. I also am certified by the RedRoverReader organization as an instructor of humane education.
Since I am the Organizing Team Chair and School Coordinator, Vinnie, Pia and I are out and about a lot. Whenever possible, we will try to help where we see a need on the SSR Calendar!
We go all over. We are so thankful for all the dedicated volunteers we have. As the School Coordinator, I am so very, very appreciative to all those volunteers who are willing to go to any school that needs volunteers. I recognize that many volunteers prefer to go to events physically located near them, or have constraints due to other matters and cannot travel---but, again---thank you so very, very much! The SSR Calendar cannot thrive without its wonderful, dedicated volunteers! The Leadership team appreciates all that our volunteers can do and do to help!
Several years ago, I planned to train our dogs, both lab mixes, to earn the therapy dog certification. All the classes we took were a great experience for all and great way to bond with our dogs. We learned as much as our dogs! Both dogs are rescues: one was very weak, recuperating from Heartworm disease when we got him; and my girl was a stray with a pretty bleak past--about 40 lbs. when we got her. Their distinct personalities have surfaced and they both make us laugh! My husband and I take them to as many places as we can---all part of their continuing education. As one of our trainers said,"your dogs have good energy!" We like the reading program because, as a former teacher who loves to read, I want to encourage kids to WANT to read and to open up all the possibilities books offer to us. If kids can read well, they will do well in school. If they do well in school---they can do whatever they want and go wherever their dreams take them!!
I retired as a teacher in August, 2013, but I doubt I will "retire" from teaching. I enjoy my great loves of dogs and teaching through the SSR calendar. My dogs earned B.A., M.A and Ph.D. degrees through C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life and Social Skills).
It looks like a wonderful program and I am very, very excited to get started with this as soon as I can. I have two wonderful dogs and I am hoping that they will enjoy working with the kids in helping them love to read. The video was very helpful too to see the handler, dogs and readers in action. The orientation was extremely helpful to me.