The Huntington branch library in Shelton hosted a program entitled Canine Buddies on Wednesday, July 22. Children between the ages 5-10 were able to reserve 15-minute time slots to read to ZuZu, a standard poodle certified by Therapy Dogs International.
Judy Naughtright, the owner of ZuZu, sat in on each 15 minute reading time and said its a great opportunity for kids to get over their fear of dogs while having fun with reading. She added that she has been handling poodles since she was 17 and she is 81 years old now.
“When some kids first enter the room they are frightened, but by the time they leave they are letting her (ZuZu) give them kisses and want to read another book,” said Naughtright.
Twins, Meghan and Elena Lesito reserved separate 15 minute reading slots but couldn’t help but sit in on eachother’s time to spend more time playing and reading with ZuZu. The twins started off their greeting apprehensive, but eventually settled in and even wanted to stay longer.
Jack Bucksbaun and Darrin Cooper also reserved a 15 minute time slot and said they left the pool early just to make sure they didn’t miss their time. Both boys said they read at school, but admitted they would read more if they got to read with more dogs around.
Naughtright said ZuZu is 3 years old and has been doing these types of programs since she earned her therapy license back on January 1 of this year.
The library is set to host the event again in August and its future will be determined based on the response from people who attend.