ESSEX, Conn. (WTNH) – When this little girl reads, Louie listens! Hence the name of a very cute program at the Essex Library that’s all about helping young readers be heard.
“Reading should be fun. Reading to a dog is definitely more fun,” said Rebecca Russell, Louie’s handler, who enjoys this work.
Kids sign up to read to the adorable three-year-old English labrador who takes in the literary moments with no judgment and lots of support.
“They don’t care if you mispronounce something,” said Russell. “It increases the serotonin in your brain, it lowers your blood pressure, it relaxes you.”
Which is just what these kids need.
Louie also went to school to become a therapy dog. He and Russell, his teammate, are certified through a company called Pet Partners.
Guess what? His nickname is Laid Back Louie.
“I knew from his personality that this would be a good job for him,” said Russell.
“He’s like really calm and I like him because he’s silly and he snuggles a lot,” said 6-year-old Eliza VanderMale.
After she reads many pages of “Bad Kitty Meets the Baby,” she does get some lovin’ from Louie who is always adored, even when he’s a little naughty!
“Last time, he rolled over on my book! It was really funny,” said VanderMale
“She’s an early reader. So, it’s a great opportunity for her to practice her oral fluency in reading out loud,” said mom Shannon VanderMale.
Louie sure is “kids’ best friend” as he routinely goes into local schools to work his magic. He provides a dog-gone-good time, one that helps children flourish, with a smile.
“They draw pictures. They say, ‘Louie, I love you!’ They want hugs, they want kisses,” said Russell.
“We love it. It’s great,” says Eliza’s mom.
Louie Listens takes place the second Thursday of every month at the Essex Library.