If you find yourself walking into your local library only to be greeted by a canine, do not be alarmed – that dog might work there.
Several libraries across the country are using therapy dogs as part of a reading education assistance program, according to SeattlePI.com. Children who have difficulties reading are encouraged to read out loud to these furry companions as opposed to teachers and peers.
The therapy dogs are trained to be patient, compassionate and encouraging to the youngsters, who may often feel ashamed when reading to adults.
The dogs that are used for the program are screened, looking for instances of poor dog health and disobedience. Nationally, more than 2,300 dogs are involved with children literacy programs.
The kids seem to like their four-legged audience as well, finding the dogs’ presence welcoming.
"I like to read stories with him," 8-year-old Brian Chan told ABC News. "He does look at the story book, and he smiles a lot."
Therapy dogs have been widely used for an array of purposes. Groups dealing with post-traumatic stress to elderly patients have used therapy dogs as a source of comfort.