Wes the Westminster Show Dog Helps Children Learn to Read and Write
Deborah Glessner - Photographer
This champion black Lab from Richboro, Pa., specializes in helping children in grades 2 through 5 learn to read. In fact, he "teaches" at 12 schools through the school year and during the summer, and works with school and camp programs for autistic and learning-disabled children. In addition, the 8-year-old dog visits his local library once a week for a "read to the dogs evening."
How Can a Dog Help a Child Read?
Wes has never cracked a book but he provides something struggling readers need -- he's the perfect supportive listener, says his owner Wendi Huttner. "He helps create a comforting, relaxing atmosphere for the children," she says. "Wes doesn't laugh or tease -- he's completely nonjudgmental."
Wes usually sits with or lies beside the children while they read, sometimes placing his head in their laps or offering a paw. He even wags his tail and gives encouraging licks to keep the reader going.