Dogs make remarkably good listeners. He might not be able to talk back, but Teddy often offers a response that seems remarkably appropriate: a glance of acknowlegement, a look of studied sympathy, even sometimes, a well-timed, slightly withering sigh.
So I shouldn’t be surprised that this doggy skill of sympathetic, silent listening, is being appreciated by more than just crazy dog ladies like myself.
The Independent recently published an article about the therapeutic presence a dog can bring to a child who is struggling to read.
America started the ball rolling with a Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) scheme. In Britain we have the Bark & Read Foundation funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust that works alongside a variety of charities to bring trained support dogs into schools. In the classroom, these marvellous dogs provide a reassuring, uncritical audience, making reading fun and giving confidence to those who lack it. What a wonderful, and thoroughly sensible idea.