A popular reading event at the Golden Library has resumed after a two-year paws, so to speak.
PAWS for Reading, where children read to therapy dogs in a nonjudgmental setting, went on hiatus three years ago during the initial COVID-19 shutdowns. This November, the Golden Library brought it back, hosting it on the first and second Saturdays of the month.
More than a dozen children participated at the March 4 event, reading books out loud to trained therapy dogs from Denver Pet Partners. Doing this helps the children build confidence in their reading skills, organizers described.
Joyce Merrill, a patron experience associate at the library, said the program started in January 2014, and has been very popular over the years. When PAWS for Reading came back in November, there were lots of children who’d been eagerly waiting for it.
Lakewood’s Judy Taylor has been working with Denver Pet Partners since 2016, and has been to several types of events with Sage, a 2-year-old Labrador. They visit elementary schools and attend special events, including some at local libraries.
Taylor said she likes working with Denver Pet Partners because she enjoys being involved in the community. Regarding PAWS for Reading specifically, she likes the encouraging environment and believed reading enabled success.
Golden’s Matthew Brand brought his daughters — 7-year-old Sarah and 6-year-old Ava — to their first PAWS for Reading event on March 4, saying he heard about it from his coworkers. His daughters love animals, he said, adding that they asked him where the dogs come from and whether they could bring their dog too.
Overall, he said of PAWS for Reading, “It sounded like a cool and unique thing to do.”
For more information on upcoming PAWS for Reading events, including the March 11 one, visit jeffcolibrary.org. Any families with reading-age children can register online up to a week before the event.