On Tuesday, November 8, PAWS of CNY volunteers attended a de-stress event at Syracuse University’s Hall of Languages. Volunteer attendees included Sue Stepien and her Bernese Mountain Dog Stella, Kathy Reynolds and her Golden Doodle Sadie, and Peggy Byrne and her Golden Retriever Ellie.
Join PAWS of CNY on Sunday, December 11 from 12 – 4 p.m. for our second annual holiday bookfair event.
PAWS of CNY, Inc., Central New York’s largest non-profit provider of pet assisted wellness services, is partnering with Onondaga County’s Hazard Library, to offer a fun, creative, and educational pet therapy reading program. Using a combination of pet therapy, books, and arts and crafts, children visiting the library are improving their reading skills, creating works of art, and benefitting from the power pet assisted wellness.
PAWS of CNY volunteer, and organization Vice President Beth Tollar visits Hazard library twice a month with her certified therapy dog, Golden Retriever Cooper. Together, Beth and Cooper sit with the library’s youngest visitors, giving each an opportunity to practice reading out loud to Cooper. Over the past decade, PAWS of CNY’s reading program has been helping kids improve their reading skills by practicing reading out loud to the non-judgmental ear of a loving, certified therapy dog. PAWS of CNY volunteers bring their therapy dogs to 14 schools and libraries across Central New York but at Hazard’s “Paws and Books” program Cooper has earned an unprecedented reputation.
“The kids absolutely love Cooper,” said Tollar. “I created his own Facebook page so kids could connect with him outside of the visits. They bring him gifts and come to the library every time we’re there just so that they can read to him. Seeing how much happiness and confidence Cooper brings, just by being with them for a little while, proves to me the benefits that pet therapy has on children.”
To further engage the library’s youngest patrons and encourage their participation in the reading program, Beth’s 13-year old daughter, Emily, and her nine-year old son, Brian, attend the library visits with their Mom to also help the kids make crafts.
“Each month we choose a different craft theme,” said Tollar. “Emily manages everything with Brian’s help. She designs the crafts, makes samples, provides all of the supplies, and teaches the kids how to do them. All of the crafts are dog themed. Emily has made origami dog bookmarks, dog puppets, paper plate pups, Bingo marker pups, dog themed cards for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and lots more. The whole experience for the kids is really positive and engaging. Whether they read, or make a craft, or just want to pet Cooper, they are learning something new, asking questions, being creative, and are excited to be at the library.”
The PAWS of CNY pet therapy reading program at Onondaga County’s Hazard Library has been successfully helping elementary-aged children to improve their reading skills, while also teaching kids first-hand about the special relationship that dogs have with humans, and how pets can improve our mood and our lives.
“We are pleased to partner with PAWS of CNY and bring the pet therapy reading program to the young people who visit our library,” said George Konder, Manager at Hazard Branch Library. “Watching Beth and Cooper help kids gain confidence reading aloud and improve their literacy skills is gratifying. Parents make Hazard Branch a fun and educational destination place so their children can read to Cooper and create a handmade craft. The Paws and Books program at Hazard has been a library success story and we are grateful to Beth, Emily, Brian, and Cooper, for sharing their enthusiasm and love of reading with our young patrons.”
For more on Beth and Cooper, view the video below produced by a Syracuse University student, or view our photo gallery.
The holidays are coming, which means we are in need of photos of your certified therapy dogs for our annual holiday card!
Submit your photo of your certified therapy pet wearing his/her PAWS of CNY vest or bandanna posed in holiday theme and he/she may be pictured on this year’s PAWS of CNY holiday cards!
Put a Santa hat on your pet’s head, wrap her in tinsel, or seat him in front of your menorah.
Get inspired by last year’s submissions by viewing the photo gallery below.
Does your dog or cat make you smile? Are you interested in helping others in our community? If you think your dog or cat may make a good therapy pet, watch our video below and apply to join PAWS of CNY today.