Tail Waggin’ at Seelos Academy
Friday, March 13, 2020 | 1:18 PM
The first grade students at Blessed Francis Seelos Academy in Wexford practiced their reading skills with Clair, a four-year-old border collie and canine pet of the school’s Reading Specialist, Patricia Hirsh. Clair is part of the Therapy Dogs International Program, “Tail Waggin Tutors” whose purpose is to provide a relaxed and “dog-friendly” atmosphere, which allows students to practice the skill of reading.
Maria Cerny, a first grade Seelos Academy Student, read the story “What Pet Should I Get” by Dr. Seuss to Clair. “When the story was over, Clair gave me a hug. I think she liked the book,” said Maria. Clair is also known to give “high fives” to the readers.
According to Therapy Dogs International, the benefits of this program for the children are numerous. It builds excitement about reading and often entices children to go home and read to their own pet. It provides a judgement-free environment where the child can relax, pat the attentive dog, and focus on the reading.
The Tail Wagging Tutors Program is offered at many local libraries, including the Shaler North Hills Library and Cranberry Township Library. Cranberry Township will host the canines in the Children’s Story-time Room on April 2, 2020. Shaler Library will offer the program in May.