Furry Friends Make Great Listeners and Companions

Therapy Dogs Lend a Kind Ear to Children in the Tales to Tails Program

Reading to a dog

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.

Therapy Dog to read to


For those interested in becoming volunteers or signing up for the program, please visit http://www.santacruzpl.org/kids/tales/

  1. Great program and so relevant. With Common Core now arriving in our schools early childhood literacy is so important. Keep up the good work!

  2. Sydney,

    The kids reading to service dogs sounds great. And I’m contacting you because I’m interested in raising a service dog puppy. Do you have any information that could connect me with any groups or individuals in the area that have information about being a service dog puppy raiser?

    Thanks, Jane

  3. Hi Jane!

    I’m glad you’re interested! I’m not entirely sure where you would go to specifically learn about being a service dog puppy raiser, but I believe the people involved with the Tales to Tails program would have more of an idea. I would suggest using the email or phone number provided on their website (http://www.santacruzpl.org/kids/tales/) to find out where to go from there.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post and commenting!
    – Sydney

  4. The therapy dogs involved with our program need to be certified by Therapy Dogs International, or Furry Friends. I hope this helps!


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