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Paws and Tales Returns to Tuckahoe Library

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – The Tuckahoe Public Library’s Paws and Tales program returned Monday afternoon to the delight of children and parents alike.

The program, in which children read to therapy dogs, was created to give children a chance to read aloud with ease and confidence. Kids between ages 5 and 10 were encouraged to bring one book of their choice and one from a collection compiled by youth service librarian Ellen Tannenbaum.

Heather White, executive trainer and program coordinator for The Good Dog Foundation , said the program is intended to encourage shy or new readers to develop skills and confidence in reading aloud. The foundation is a nonprofit founded in 1998 to promote animal-assisted therapy.

The dogs are warm and receptive and do not judge a child based on his or her reading skill. The dogs have been certified through the foundation for their therapeutic values toward humans. They are good listeners.

Heather said the foundation has been doing this program at the Tuckahoe Public Library for a year, along with 10 other libraries across Westchester. In addition to libraries, animals from The Good Dog Foundation have made regular visits to nursing homes and hospitals, among others. They even provided services in shelters in downtown Manhattan to those affected by the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Although the Tuckahoe Library program has been geared toward young children, Heather said it is open to anybody who is interested. Along with new readers, many people with special needs have been drawn to the program. People who do not have reading skills on the same level as their age group have also benefited from the carefree attitude provided by the dogs.

Paws and Tales will take place at 4 p.m. every third Thursday of the month. Register by calling 914-961-2121.

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