by Beth Huisking, General Manager
It shouldn’t be a surprise that after years of being next door to the dog park, the Playhouse has gone a bit dog crazy!
This March 1st, we go beyond the occasional visits from staff members canine companions, and will be presenting the delightful Family Festivities production of Dog Loves Books. Not content with keeping the “dog” on the stage, we have teamed up with Westport’s Reading2Rover program to present a special activity beginning after the 1pm performance.
Started by Westport Library Children’s Librarian Lynne Perrigo, Reading2Rover uses therapy dogs to help kids looking to practice reading out loud:
“I had heard of libraries across the country that had reading programs with dogs and I learned that studies have shown that children's reading skills often improve dramatically when they read out loud to dogs. Dogs provide a loving, non-judgmental audience that really helps readers of all ages to relax and gain confidence in their reading. Slurpy kisses and soft ears to nuzzle are a lovely side benefit.”
The dogs and owners that participate in the program are all certified or registered as pet therapy teams, and volunteer their time. The volunteer teams come from Pet Partners, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Longshore/Southport Kennel Club, Intermountain Therapy Animals R.E.A.D., Therapet, Inc and Therapy Dogs International.
From 2pm until 3:45pm on Sunday, March 1st, Lynne will be bringing a number of the dogs used in the Reading2Rover program to the Playhouse’s rehearsal barn, and inviting children to stop in and say hi, and maybe play a little! The dogs’ owners will also be onsite to teach kids about how therapy dogs are used as well as how therapy dog teams work.
Looking for a way to share your favorite four-legged friend with the Playhouse? Snap a photo of your dog reading his or her favorite book and post it to our Facebook page!