Therapy Dogs Lend a Kind Ear to Children in the Tales to Tails Program
While many have come to know the dog as man’s best friend, the Santa Cruz Public libraries have proved that they can be so much more.
Started at the Santa Cruz Public Libraries almost four years ago, Tales to Tails is a program which allows children to read to attentive and kind therapy dogs and cats for periods of 20 minutes each week. With around 40 different handler teams at the eight different locations, coordinator of the program Laura Whaley loves witnessing the confidence boost these dogs provide the children with.
“The kids will interact with [the animals] in such a fantastic way and it’s fun to watch and very moving,” Whaley said.
Aside from the obvious benefit of being “able to play with the doggies,” Whaley said she gains immense joy from watching the children come back week after week to read to their furry companion. Considering most of the dogs stay within one branch of the library, the children are able to become familiar and comfortable with many of the dogs and cats.
Whaley said that this past weekend some of the children are coming up on their 50th visit to the Tales to Tails program.
“The kids who get involved tend to stay involved with the program,” Whaley said.
For those interested in becoming volunteers or signing up for the program, please visit http://www.santacruzpl.org/kids/tales/