by No Dogs Allowed
My Hometown, N.C. - I took my kids to our local library on Monday and saw this sign on a bookshelf:
Parents can schedule 15-minute appointments with “Peekaboo” the “therapy” dog to help their children read. Peekaboo is described as a “gentle listener” who somehow entices kids to read books. Now, I’m all for promoting literacy, and I know it’s hard to get kids to crack open a book – all my kids ever want to do is play computer games or watch TV. But this seems a bit ridiculous to me.
And what exactly is a “therapy” dog? I know it’s not like being a certified service or seeing eye dog for the blind, both of which designations require lengthy training. According to Wikipedia, a therapy dog is “trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas.”
A library is not a “stressful situation.” It’s a peaceful, quiet, tranquil place. Most dogs bark a lot, and a dog barking loudly would turn the library into a stressful place. How about a quieter therapy animal, like a turtle or rabbit?
It seems like a dog would be a big distraction to kids trying to read books. And the sign states this “therapy dog” service is only available to “young readers up to grade 5.” We supposedly live in a country that touts equal opportunity, so why not inflict this idiocy upon everyone?
This service is so pointless it makes me think the library is pushing an “aren’t dogs great?” agenda on kids. Any living creature can be a “gentle listener.” Dogs do not hold a monopoly on so-called “therapeutic” qualities. I dislike dogs, so I find them stressful and not therapeutic at all.
And what if “Peekaboo” is not in the mood to listen to a child struggle through “The Cat in the Hat” and decides to be a not-so “gentle listener” and nips a child? I wonder what the library’s liability would be if such a thing occurred.
I did not make an appointment with “Peekaboo” for my kids. They will have to learn to read without the distraction of a dopey-looking dog staring at them.