News from Tom McMahon of AllVoices.com —
PETTING A DOG is soothing for both giver and receiver. It can lower your heart rate, calm you down, improve your mood and reduce stress. Researchers call it the “pet effect.” It’s no wonder that dogs “volunteer” in assisted living and nursing homes, children’s hospitals, libraries and schools.
The latest is the dog listener. “The philosophy is simple,” says Rachel Rodriguez in a recent CNN article. “Children who are just learning to read often feel judged or intimidated by classmates and adults. But reading to a dog isn’t so scary. It won’t judge, it won’t get impatient, it won’t laugh or correct if the child makes a mistake. In a nutshell, dogs are simply excellent listeners. And for shy kids or slow readers, that can make all the difference.” The dogs also can provide confidence.
Although some dogs are trained as a registered therapy dog, your own dog could become your child’s listener. Help them find a comfortable spot together. Let your child know that some dogs can still hear you when their eyes are closed. Happy reading with Fido! – Tom McMahon