Sign In

Girl Scouts earn Award for ‘Read to Furry Friends’

April 2, 2020

Three eighth-grade Girl Scout Cadets from Troop 41601, Meredith Swanson, Katelyn McCarthy and Joshika Prabhugee recently earned the Silver Award for their project, “Read to Furry Friends.”

When brainstorming an idea that needed to meet the award’s criteria of both finding a need and showing a leadership role within the community, they remembered an early literacy program that incorporated something similar.

“The girls reached out to several trained therapy dog organizations and heard back from many of them,” explained Annie B. Fales Elementary School teacher Kathy Swanson. “They were able to get commitments from three different volunteers with their trained therapy dogs that will be at the Westborough Public Library as well as the Southborough Public Library.  This is a wonderful opportunity for children in grades one through three to read to the dogs.”

“My favorite part is seeing the kids kind of warm up to the dog and get more comfortable reading,” McCarthy said. “At first they come in and they are nervous but then the more time they are with the dog, they get comfy and they read and are not nervous at all.”

The program helps to build confidence in a child, while helping to improve their reading skills in a non-judgmental setting.

Within the 50-hour project, the girls have also incorporated the collection of donated items for local rescue shelters. Bins have been placed at Fales Elementary School, the Westborough Public Library, and the Southborough Public Library.

“Here at Fales, we already had one of the volunteers come with their dog in mid-December,” Swanson noted. “It was so successful that we have a couple of additional dates scheduled. The students typically are more willing to sit down with a dog and read when they would be hesitant with another student or adult.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more