My name is Rosemary Marburger and I am the current Paws To Read Coordinator at Brownsburg Public Library. I oversee 8-9 Volunteers along with their therapy dogs. Children register to read to the dog. It is a great program that helps shy or reluctant readers to gain self confidence, improve reading skills, social skills and raise self-esteem in many areas. I also volunteer in a second grade classroom twice /week and each individual student reads to my Golden Retriever, Elsa. I have recently helped launch the Paws to Read Summer Program at the Indianapolis Marion County PL, Lawrence Branch due to start June 15th. I will volunteer with Elsa and have recruited several other voulunteers. I will not be the coordinator of this but a liasion between the staff and volunteers. I recently attended the READ Conference (reading education assistance dogs) in Salt Lake City, UT. It was wonderful and boasted many speakers and among them David Frei, co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and co-author, with Mike Lingenfelter, of the Angel By My Side, a critically acclaimed best seller. He is also the director of communications for the Delta Society, the world’s leading organization for animal assisted therapy. Elsa and I are certified Pet Partners through the Delta Society and a R.E.A.D. Team through Intermountain Therapy Animals an affiliate of Delta society.
As the coordinator of Paws, it is my goal and hope to see more volunteer pet teams in schools and libraries in the Indianapolis area. I have been able to place another team in another El.Ed. school this past semester and have had several other inquiries from other schools for next year, but nothing decided as of yet. The human/animal bond is a powerful one if you stop to research this subject and many more avenues open up as to the use of animals in all kinds of therapy. Reading has been one of the most recent areas and is receiving alot of attention as the rewards and benefits abound to young children through this therapy.