This weekend was filled with animal assisted therapy activities. We typically volunteer at children’s programs, particularly the literacy initiatives, and this weekend was full of activities. In total, Emmett touched (or, I should say, was touched by) nearly 200 children!
Thursday night, we participated in a Head Start program. Emmett met 50 children aged 3 and 5. It was the youngest group he has ever worked with, and he did great. Though the purpose of our station was to read a storybook, most of the kids just ran up to him, waving their arms, screaming, “DOGGGYYYY!!!” They’d pat him, then run off to their next activity. Emmett loved their high energy and would position himself to receive their exuberant patting.
On Friday, we visited a local elementary school to visit with four first-grade classes, totaling just over 100 kids and teachers. The kids had a ton of silly energy, but they totally got into the idea of reading to a dog. Their teachers wove the concept into homework assignments, encouraging the students to practice reading with their family pets.
Today we participated in our monthly Animal Reading Friends program at the local public library. A lot of the kids from the elementary school from the day before attended today’s program, which was great. Emmett is actually starting to amass a little bit of a following, with kids returning each month to read with him.
After all his hard work this weekend, we drove through Starbucks on our way home for him to get a Puppy Latte, which is one of his favorite treats.
Emmett adores children, and I love the literacy programs, so this is a great fit for us. The best part is hearing all the funny, creative questions the kids come up with. We’ve been doing it for about eight months now, and though some of the questions are becoming predictable, some continue to catch me off guard.
The most often-repeated questions:
– How old is he? (6)
– Is he a boy or a girl? (Boy… at which point the boys pump their fists and go, “YESSS!!”)
– What’s his favorite food? (Peanut butter)
– Does he like to swim? (I have NO idea where this question comes from, but we get it every visit. And, yes, he likes to swim.)
– Can I have him? (No, no you can not.)
Some of the less predictable questions from this weekend:
– What do you do for a living? (Asked by a little 6-year-old girl. Adorable.)
– Can you please make him do a back flip? (Nope. Sorry.)
– Is it true that a dog’s spit can heal a person’s wound? (I looked this one up. No, it’s not true.)
We have one more visit scheduled this month, a kindergarten class next Friday where Emmett will participate in both reading and writing activities – something I’m very excited about.
Emmett is now sound asleep, splayed out and snoring softly. All this activity wore him (and me!) out, but it’s totally worth it.