Meridian Library dog volunteers encourage young readers with Tales to Tails program

Posted at 9:16 AM, Nov 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 11:16:00-05
You might not expect to see a dog roaming the shelves at your local library, but that's exactly what's happening in Meridian.
Peppermint Patty is a favorite at the Meridian Library's Cherry branch.
"She is so wonderful. She's just got so much love," said Patty's owner, Debbie Phillips.
The three-year-old Shih Tzu is a registered therapy dog with Alliance of Therapy Dogs. She's also a very good listener. Patty is one of four therapy dogs children can read to at the Meridian Library District.
It's a program known as Tales to Tails, and it's helping young readers build confidence.
"The dog is not going to judge them if they read a word correctly or not. That stress goes away and they just read. It puts a smile on their face and the dogs love it too. They get the attention and the hugs. So it's just a win-win situation," said Meridian Library Youth Services Manager Laura Abbott.
Peppermint Patty visits the library about once a month. You can find her wandering the children's section looking for books and making new friends. Her big smile welcomes kids to a comfortable and fun environment where they can practice their reading.
"It helps the children so much. It gives them confidence and self worth, and it does help their reading and social skills. It's very rewarding to see them grow," Phillips said.
Sometimes there's a wiggle, or a scratch here and there, but Peppermint Patty's calm companionship is encouraging.
"It is just heartwarming to see the kids having positive reading experiences. With those positive experiences we're going to grow readers. And that's our goal here," Abbott said.
No appointment is necessary to read to Peppermint Patty. Check the calendar on the Meridian Library District website to find out when Patty and the other dogs will be stopping by.
Similar programs are available at other libraries in the Treasure Valley. Check with your librarians if it is something you are interested in.