Ruth Davis and Piper have been reading to kids for 10 years.
Actually: They’ve been read to for 10 years.
Davis, assistant professor of human services at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, and her dog Piper were honored last week through the Paws to Read program. Paws to Read is a literacy program where children read to dogs. Research has shown that 100 percent of kids who participate in programs like Paws improve their reading skills. Davis and Piper have participated for a decade through the Pontiac Branch of the Allen County Public Library.
“Piper and I have watched many kids grow up in the program. Some started reading when they were toddlers, by telling stories about the pictures in the books. I love reading and know there is an amazing world in books, so it is a joy to encourage kids to read with this program. This neighborhood is one of the most impoverished in town as well, and that keeps me going back.
“One special memory was when a young boy, probably about 10 or 11 years old, saw Piper in the library and decided that he would read to him. Piper took to this kid immediately, gave the kid kisses and kept his chin on the kid’s knee while he read. I remarked to the kid that Piper must think he is special and in need of more attention. Then the kid revealed that he had just moved into a new foster home that very day, and the foster mom had brought him to the library. The kid thanked Piper for being his friend with an extra hug. I almost cried it was so sweet, and the boy came back several more times.”