Gallery: Therapy dogs and a few good books

Children got the chance to read to three therapy dogs – Dink, Dr. Seuss and Brownie – at the M. Allan Vogelson Library’s Read to a Dog event, Monday Aug. 6 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Each child picked their own book, separated into three groups and took turns reading to the dogs.

The dogs relaxed as the children read, until it was time to switch groups. Rotating reading groups allowed the children to read to each dog while petting them.

Neelam Rastogi, brought her daughters Nandini and Ami to their first session of reading to therapy dogs.

Rastogi mentioned that they went to many different libraries in the area, but she described the Vogelson library as one of the best so far.

“I think it is beneficial for all of the kids,” Rastogi said.

She says it helps the children prepare for school by setting up a structured classroom like atmosphere with activities, story time and social interactions.

“It makes a difference to have that experience,” Rastogi said.

Nandini read her favorite book, “Baker, Baker, Cookie Maker.”  Although she had the chance to meet and read to all three dogs, she said her favorite dog was Brownie.

Brownie’s owner, Samantha Canino said that even if someone is afraid of dogs, Brownie knows how to approach them.

Claudia Buderman, owner of Dr. Seuss, said Doc would not stop nudging her to leave the house. Doc laid on her back while the children read to her.

“I tell the children that she is imagining what they are reading to her,” Buderman said.

At the end of story time, the children had the chance to participate in a craft.

Library Associate Kathy Mahony said the activity order for Read to a Dog depends on the size of the group. If the group is large enough to split into two, Murphy allows one group to start on crafts while the other group reads to the dogs.

Buderman believes that the reading sessions lesson anxiety for children, bring humor into reading and allows them to forget if they have difficulty reading.

“It gives them more confidence,” Buderman said.

Mahony has been running the program for about five years and she received nothing but compliments from the therapy dog owners who started visiting the library with their dogs a few years before Mahony started working at the library.

Linda Zangari has been attending the therapy dog readings for eight years. Although her greyhound Dink wasn’t always in the picture, Zangari takes him to various special needs classrooms when requested.

Mahony mentioned that there are other programs in the library that are geared toward specific age groups. Read to a Dog is geared toward children from ages 5 to 11.

The next time Dink, Dr. Seuss and Brownie will appear is Monday, Sept. 10, Oct. 15 and Nov. 19. The dogs will be waiting for the children at 7 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.

The M. Allen Vogelson Library is located on 203 Laurel Road. It’s open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will reopen Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. starting Sept. 2.

Parents must register the children to be a part of the event. In order to register, visit www. Camdencountylibrary.org/Voorhees-branch. Registration opens three weeks before the events date.

About Kristina Scala

Kristina Scala, a Brooklyn native, has moved her way down the state, finally settling in South Jersey. She graduated in 2012 from Rowan University with a bachelors in journalism and English. She enjoys covering sports, politics and local happenings. Kristina can be reached at kscala@elauwit.com.View all posts by Kristina Scala