Story time is a tail-wagging time

To promote literacy to young children in a fun way, the Hugh Embry Branch Library’s Read to Rover program pairs storybooks with man’s best friend, for a tail-wagging time. Toddlers and preschoolers are encouraged to read a book (or show the illustrations) to a trained, certified support animal, who patiently sits by the child during their time together. The nonjudgmental environment, along with the calming influence of the support dog, helps promote the development of reading skills, in an exciting manner. For more information on this bi-monthly program, call (352) 567-3576.

Four-year-old Wren Demaree, of Dade City, shows certified support dog Marley Beans the illustrations of a book by author Maddie Frost. The little girl and the dog were at a recent Read to Rover event at the Hugh Embry Branch Library. Marley Beans, a 7 ½ year-old yellow lab, recently graduated from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs training program. (Christine Holtzman)

Two-year-old Dominque McKnight, of Dade City, reacts, when support dog Marley Beans gives him a kiss. Amber Elder, McKnight’s mother, said that her son loves cats, but is very shy around dogs. Instead of books, McKnight opted to show Marley Beans some Legos after their initial meeting.

Cheryl Snider, of Zephyrhills, praises her certified support dog, Marley Beans, during a recent Read to Rover event at the Hugh Embry Branch Library. Snider is a retired Disneyland executive administrator. The pup was just 7 months old when she rescued him. She knew the dog’s friendly and social nature would make him a great support dog. The two share a special bond. Snider sums it this way: ‘It’s Marley’s world, I just live in it.’

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