June 12th , 2013 10:43 am Leave a comment

Therapy dog makes appearance at summer reading event

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Generally, the only Great Dane you’d expect to see in a library would be one of Shakespeare’s friends.

So young readers coming to Tuesday’s Summer Reading Program sessions were in for a big surprise in the shape of a 14-month-old Great Dane therapy dog.

Photo by Bryan StevensDiana Bowers and Great Dane Jackson will be at the Elizabethton Carter County Public Library through June and July to let young readers read to Jackson for the Summer Reading Program.

Photo by Bryan Stevens
Diana Bowers and Great Dane Jackson will be at the Elizabethton Carter County Public Library through June and July to let young readers read to Jackson for the Summer Reading Program.

He’s named Jackson, by the way, not Hamlet.

Jackson and his handler/owner Diana Bowers, a biology and physics teacher at Hampton High School, will be visiting the library throughout the summer to give children the opportunity to read to Jackson. The pair made a special visit to Tuesday’s Summer Reading Program sessions to introduce themselves to the summer readers.

Jackson has been a Tail Waggin’ Tutor therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International for only a few months. Bowers said TDI requires therapy dogs to be a year old before they can begin working. Jackson has completed four sessions as a therapy dog so far.

“Research shows that when children are able to read to other people or to a dog if they are shy, their reading skills increase,” Bowers said.

Bowers got Jackson when he was a puppy after her husband had relocated the family to attend law school. She had Jackson complete training sessions from the time he was 10 weeks old until he was a year old. She said it was unusual for a Great Dane to act as a therapy dog but she wanted to use the opportunity of having a unique dog as a way to give back to the community.

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