The program at the Corte Madera Library could also be called, Hug a Dog. While Mooki, the 6 year old Goldendoodle, was waiting for the children to show up to read to him, he was hugged, petted, given treats and talked to by many children already at the library.
Children were heard saying, “He has fluffy ears. I put a tutu on my dog. He’s lifting his leg! His foot looks like a real foot!” And one child was braiding his ear. Mooki receives lots of love from kids during his visits to the Read to a Dog program.
Mooki and his human, Joan, have been through the Special Human-Animal Relationships Program at the Marin Humane Society. Through SHARE, Mooki has been to nursing homes, hospitals, schools, libraries, special day classes and children’s centers.
On this particular Saturday, siblings, Pierre, 8 and Alexandra, 5, signed up to read to Mooki at the library. Pierre read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. As he read to Mooki, Pierre smiled and often made eye contact with him. He made sure to hold the book so Mooki could see the pictures. Then Pierre read 10 Minutes til Bedtime, as Mooki seemed to know to put his head down for this bedtime story.
It was plain to see Pierre loves dogs and enjoyed reading to Mooki. He told me he has read to dogs before.
When I asked him what it was like to read to a dog he said, “It’s just kinda special. I get to meet a new dog and I always like that.” I told Pierre that I saw Mooki looking at the book as he read and Pierre added, “Yes, and he scratched at the pages too.”
Alexandra, 5, chose Arthur’s Baby to read to Mooki. Her tiny voice was barely audible as she sat next to this sweet canine. Her mom sat on one side to help her with some words and Mooki sat lovingly nearby. Alexandra was following in the footsteps of her older brother and experiencing the fun and joy of reading aloud to a listening dog.
Animals and children are such a natural pairing. They both live in the moment and love acknowledging each other with unconditional hugs and kisses.
On this stormy Saturday afternoon, a very special bond was formed between all the children that connected with the very special — Mooki the Dog!
Until next Wednesday, remember, it’s “all for the love of kids…”
In joy, Marilyn