Reading Paws Dog Assists Young Readers At Vinings Library

The child sits on a rug with Auggie at her side. While the child reads aloud, the dog stretches out, listening silently to the story. Auggie is a beautiful golden retriever. The elegant gentle dog commands attention wherever he goes.


Reading with Auggie, the Reading Paws dog, are, from left, Caroline Rawles, Auggie and Danielle Smith.

He’s not just a pretty doggie face, however. Auggie is a Reading Paws dog, who listens patiently and non-judgmentally while children read to him. Auggie and his sister, Mrs. Cooper, are part of a special program that goes to Cobb libraries on a regular schedule.
Two young students recently enjoyed an afternoon in the Vinings Library with Auggie, the Reading Paws dog. Caroline Rawls, came with to Reading Paws with her grandmother Susan Rawls of Vinings. She is a kindergarten student at Morris Brandon School. Danielle Smith of Mableton, 6½, is a student at Imagine International Academy in Smyrna. She is the daughter of Samantha and Scott Smith.
Susan Irvin, Youth Services Librarian, brought the Reading Paws program to the Vinings Library, the first in the county to have the program in 2008. “The children are not under so much pressure as they might be with a teacher or parent listening to them read. The handler is there but does not interrupt the child unless ask about a word, “said Mrs. Irvin. “With the Reading Paws Dog, reading is an enjoyable experience. The child has no stress. The dog is not critical.” The program in Vinings is open to all children, who are independent readers, not just those with reading difficulties.
Lynn Flater of Vinings Estates is Auggie and Mrs. Cooper’s handler/owner and has been a volunteer with Intermountain Therapy Animals for two years. There are 80 Reading Paws programs throughout the state and 13 Reading Paws in 11 of 17 of Cobb libraries. In spite of the cut backs in library hours, they are still able to offer this free program that benefits children. All animals in the Reading Paws state-wide program must be registered therapy animals.