- While students cheer for that final school bell to ring, parents worry their kids will forget what they learned in school.
The Rhinelander District Library eases parents concerns while making reading more exciting for kids. They welcome volunteers from the Tail Waggin' Tutors program.
Though dogs Quincy, Annie, Franny and Dare do not look like your typical tutors, they help local kids improve reading skills.
Nancy Diepenbrock of Therapy Dogs International says the program works because "a dog is non-judgmental and provides unconditional love. He doesn't care if you read the words correctly or not. They're just here to listen and be a good friend while the kids are reading."
First grader Maria Hubler likes to read, but she likes it even more with an audience - Golden Retriever Quincy.
"I like to read...[the dogs]kind of appreciate it," she says.
And Maria's mother Diane Hubler sees a big improvement. "After she read to Quincy she was so excited and happy she just said it was awesome, it was great."
And dogs like Quincy are not just beneficial to kids.
Diepenbrock says, "I'm a retired nurse and when I was nursing I worked in an institution where they brought therapy dogs in. And it was such a stress relief to me."
Seeing the dogs' power to heal inspired Diepenbrock to start her own chapter of Therapy Dogs International in the Northwoods.
She says the chapter currently has 11 certified dogs...and 20 that are working to get their certification."
Diane Hubler urges everyone to take advantage of the program.
"The Rhinelander District Library has the best children's program I've ever encountered and everybody should come to the library."
|Story By: Lauren Stephenson