When Darby, now seven, reached his first birthday, making him eligible for Companion Animal volunteer work, we began participating in the program sponsored by the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA. Every month for four years we visited convalsecent homes, retirement communities, and the playgrounds of residential foster homes for children. Nowadays Darby, MaeRose and I visit the children’s foster homes, and MaeRose and I participate in two or three Barks and Books events every month. We spend an hour in the children’s section of Pasadena area libraries. Young children take turns reading to her, patting her, asking dog questions (will she have babies? do you put her in a car seat? does she bite? does she lick faces? will she jump on me?)
The reward is a sticker “I Read to a Dog Today,” along with lots of pats and pokes on a furry black dog with pearly white teeth, a pink tongue, and a totally lovable personality.