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.
Trish is a freelance artist who does a variety of artwork, lucky for all of us who love picture books - her favourite work is illustrating children’s books.
Using watercolour and pencils, she particularly enjoys painting animals, birds, and small magical things.
Trish has now illustrated more than 30 children’s books. We will continue to collect her work, at the moment we have "The Anzac Puppy" written by Peter Millett and her newest creation "Dogs of the Vastness" written by Ben Brown.
She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Trish love's cats, and there’s usually one to be found sitting on the drawing board or on Trish’s shoulder while she works in her lovely studio overlooking the back garden. - So we thought it only fitting that Yuki, the Canine Comprehension Cat should be involved in thanking her too.
To see more of Trish's work, check out her website.
Weekend Notes gives us a great write up!
"A marquee will be erected on the small grassed area outside the shop where Sarah Maconald will be with her canine friends Minnie and Oscar at 1pm on Anzac morning. Minnie and Oscar encourage kids to enjoy reading.
While there will be games with the dogs as well as other book activities there will be two special events on the day. First of all a book reading at 1pm. The Anzac Puppy and then another book reading at 2.pm. Digger - the Dog Who Went to War."
We were also happy about the description of our little literacy business...
"Sarah Macdonald is the owner and creator of Canine Comprehension, a business passionate about children's literacy. Canine Comprehension believes that children are able to conventrate better, have a more positive experience and are motivated more when they are reading with a dog.
Sarah runs one on one tutoring sessions as well as school incursions where their Animal Assistance Therapy dogs sit with children and encourage their reading process.
Children will be introduced to stories about the Two World Wars in a gentle environment and in the company of two beautiful canine companions. Sarah Macdonald's work in this area is widely recognised and applauded especially for her passion in inspiring children to read.
Sarah will be with Minnie and Oscar in the marquee just outside the front door of Rainy Day Books on Anzac Day. Come and visit, and share your day with Sarah and her dogs. Browse around the bookshop to your heart's content then join the kids in their reading events."
This article dated 14 April 2015 in The Washington Post by Denise Daniels, a child development and parenting expert specializing in the social and emotional development of children. is right on the money and exactly what we are promoting with our dog assisted learning work.
The article notes that dogs in family units help children
It's worth reading the entire article, which can be found here.
But of course we are really interested in #5 - learn to read.
The article puts it like this -
"Really. Reading dramatically expands a child’s understanding of the experiences and emotions of others, but learning to read can be stressful. And while reading out loud is critical for literacy, it can be torture for a kid who’s intimidated or embarrassed. The answer? Read to your pet. With an endlessly patient animal, children can go at their own pace and sound out difficult words with no fear of judgment. Lori Friesen of the University of Alberta has studied the use of therapy dogs to promote literacy learning in classrooms, including with her own dog, Tango, in her second-grade classroom. Friesen notes that “situational interest,” such as adding the novelty of a dog to a learning environment, can help capture children’s attention. Therapy dogs in particular offer a “multi-sensory learning experience.” They’re sociable, respond eagerly to humans and “possess a capacity for limited comprehension of oral language.” That helps."
So, we are onto something here at Canine Comprehension. If you would like help in training your dog to sit with your child, or English tutoring with canine coaches, contact us.
When Matthew, a young man of 16 left his home in Port Melbourne for war, he didn't realise that a quick decision of smuggling his beloved dog, Digger, onto the troop ship would impact so heavily on his experience of World War One. At the front, Matthew worked as a stretcher-bearer and Digger helped him rescue the wounded. Together, they face the triumphs and tragedies of the Western Front.
The descriptions of war-torn Belgium, where Digger and Matthew faced rats, enemy fire and poison gas are intense and vivid. As the story twists and turns the reader doesn't know who is going to rescue who in the end...and like so many stories of The Great War, there is no happy ending.
Based on the true story of Driver, a puppy that was smuggled onto an Australian troop ship during World War One, this heartfelt story shows that the bond of love and devotion between a man and his dog cannot be broken, even by the tragedy of war.
This is a sad story. But it is a story that needs to be told. Many young men who went off to fight never returned. The loss of World War One left an impact on Australia that can be felt by generations to come. Our young people need to be aware of this loss and this story by acclaimed author/illustrator Mark Wilson is told with compassion and sincerity.
This will be the second book I will be reading at our Rainy Day Books - Anzac Reading Event.
We would love to see you down there. Otherwise pick up a copy of this wonderful book and read it to your kids or your dog on Anzac Day.
For Ages: 5 - 9 years old
Published: 10th March 2015
Publisher: Hachette Australia
The Anzac puppy by Peter Millett and Trish Bowles (Scholastic, March 2014).
Peter Millett, author explains that “the fictional story 'The Anzac Puppy' was inspired a by a series of true events that took place during the Great War of 1914-18.” These true events are described in a two-page spread of historical notes at the back.
Freda, a Harlequin Great Dane was a loyal, good-luck mascot, who Sam, a brave young soldier brought to the front line during WW1.
The trenches were a place of fear and horror. They were made bearable to Sam, because he had to be brave for his puppy Freda.
As time in the trenches went on Freda grew and grew. Sam endured a great deal in those trenches. Loud fighting, harrowing conditions and the loss of close friends. Sam also grew. He grew into man man who was tired of the fighting and wanted to go home...
The Anzac Puppy is an incredible story of a dog who gave a man strength and brought him through the trials of trench warfare of WW1.
As I sat in a cafe a read this book I wept. I cried for all the loss, the fear and the sadness that the war brought to all those young men, and all their families, who they left behind. I cried, because I thought of my big loving dog, and how much I believe I could ride out if I had her by my side.
This book is a reminder of burden The Great War placed on a generation and also a reminder that love endures and sustains hope.
I will be reading this book at a few children's literacy events in the coming months. I would love to see you there. If you cannot make it, I encourage you to get a copy of this wonderful little story. Read it to your kids - if you don't have kids, read it to your dog.
Author: Peter Millett
Illustrator: Trish Bowles
Title: The Anzac Puppy
Publisher: Scholastic New Zealand, 2014
About the Author
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