Therapet, an East Texas Animal Assisted Therapy nonprofit, will begin regular visits to the Lillie Russell Memorial Library in Lindale during September, officials have announced.
Therapet will be at the Lillie Russell Memorial Library two Saturday mornings each month, said executive director Carianne Fisher.
She added the service has had a waiting list “because we have not had enough volunteer teams to add services to more facilities.
“We formed a volunteer recruitment and retention committee and we have been growing our presence on social media. The fruits of our efforts are that we can now move Breckenridge Village and the Lindale Library off of our waiting list,’’ she said.
At the Lillie Russell Memorial Library, Therapet participated in the recent summer reading program.
Parents had the opportunity to sign up for slots to have their children read to a specially trained Therapet team in a unique space in the library – a pink and brown doghouse structure.
The dog house contains a special collection of books about different pets and animals, such as dogs, cats, rabbits and horses and was made possible by a partnership with Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation.
“We know reading to pets helps readers, especially those who are struggling, with unconditional love and friendship,’’ said Lillie Russell Memorial Library Director Carrie Custer. “We wanted a program like that for our community and our library.’’
Fisher noted studies have found the reading comprehension among youngsters improves when they practice reading in front of a dog.
“We think part of this may be because the dog is a non-judgmental listener and part of it just may be because it is more fun to practice with a dog,” she said.
In Lindale, the program has been warmly received by both kids and their parents, Custer said.
“They love it and are excited to come back. They are telling their friends and families what a great experience it is,’’ she said.