Sunday saw Canine Comprehension in their second event of the weekend! This time, joining forces with other Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) graduates from Lead the Way and talking to families about the various ways Animal Assisted therapy can be used to help the community. Our group ‘Dogs with Jobs’ consists of dogs who work in aged care facilities, dogs who assist in specialised supportive dog training and Minnie and Oscar – literacy dogs!
The Animal Aid Pet Picnic at Lillydale Lake was a whole lot of fun for families and their pets (once again, despite the rain!) Families were able to celebrate the special role that pets play in our lives and Animal Aid were able to raise much needed funds to provide shelter and a second chance to homeless pets.
It was also a great opportunity for me to talk to people about exactly what Canine Comprehension does.
“No, unfortunately the dogs cannot read to students, but they do go into schools and motivate them to read.”
“Most children have a natural affinity and bond with dogs, by bringing a dog to students on an ongoing basis it can enhance self-esteem, motivate speech and build confidence in those who feel uneasy about reading aloud or answering questions in front of their peers.”
“Results show that having students work with a trained AAT dog decreases stress over reading aloud and improves their reading skills in a fun relaxed atmosphere.”
“The students consider Minnie and Oscar as a friend and genuinely look forward to seeing one of them each week. They practice their reading, or consider their homework a little more precisely because they look forward to showing the dogs their work. When it comes to literacy dogs are non-judgmental so students are less self-conscious. They are encouraging, Minnie and Oscar are trained to sit still with the child and give them their attention.”
“But surely the dogs can’t correct their mistakes?"...
"And that’s the point! The dogs will listen to kids stumble over words– but try and work it out for themselves. The child knows the dogs wont interrupt, so they need to think through literacy problems themselves. Too often students stubble over a word and the just wait for the adult to fill in the gaps. And, of course I will be close by to help is a consolation discussion afterward."
Thanks to all the people who came over and had a chat.
A big thanks to the young folk for playing with and cuddling the dogs!
It was heart warming meeting so many people who work with children telling me that Canine Comprehension is an interesting and exciting service. I look forward to meeting and working with some of you in the future.
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