HOH Celebrates their Tale Wagging Tutor!
The door opens every Friday afternoon at 2PM. The five and six year olds in Mrs. Ambrosetti and Mrs. Bell’s kindergarten class welcome Charlie, the Tail Wagging Tutor, with a boisterous, “Charlie’s here! Hi, Charlie!” Mrs. Fran Bennett and her lovable Shih Tzu, decked out with his TDI scarf, arrive like clockwork to excite and motivate the kindergarteners and to help them develop a love of reading.
Charlie and Mrs. Bennett went through an extensive training and evaluation program to become certified with the non-profit Therapy Dogs International. They are part of a network of voluntary owners and dogs certified to aid in nursing homes, schools, hospitals, other institutions and wherever else therapy dogs are needed. Charlie is often found on Tuesday nights at the Newburgh Free Library at the Newburgh Mall wagging his tail while young scholars read to him. Fran and her best friend have also helped relieve stress at SUNY New Paltz during finals week. They make weekly visits to assisted living facilities, as well, where residents line up to hold the friendly canine on their laps.
But, Fran will tell you, their favorite visit is to HOH where Mrs. Bennett was a second grade teacher for over 20 years. After cordial salutations, Charlie and Mrs. Bennett settle down on the blanket made especially for Charlie. The students put their heads down and patiently wait for their turn to nestle next to their favorite furry “reading teacher.” Mrs. Bennett, being the proverbial “once a teacher always a teacher” helps the young readers navigate through the written word.
Sadly, our hour is up and Charlie leaves classroom #201 after many hugs and kisses, with the hopeful anticipation of his returning to HOH at 2PM the following Friday.
Story and photos submitted by Mrs. Judy Ambrosetti.