Canine helps Eagle County people learn to read |

Canine helps Eagle County people learn to read

Derek Franz
Eagle correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE, Colorado – Jetta is a dog – a flat-coat retriever, to be exact. She is also a master at a highly regarded skill – listening. That’s how she helps children learn to read.

“It makes reading more fun and exciting, something to look forward to,” said Jetta’s owner, Nanette Kuich. “It makes the kids feel special. Instead of special ed, it’s just special. They really read to her and show her the pictures.”

Jetta went to a puppy school at PETS in Edwards and passed her Delta Society exam by the time she was 1 year old. That qualified her to be a therapy dog. She made visits to the Vail Valley Medical Center and started reading with kids at Eagle County Charter Academy in 2008.

This summer, parents signed their children up for 30-minute sessions with the dog at the Gypsum Public Library. The once-a-week program ended when school resumed, but Jetta was so popular she is expected back next summer.

“We were so pleased to have Jetta available as a canine companion to our young readers this summer,” said Cortni O’Brien, who handles public relations for the Eagle Valley Library District. “Studies show that reading out loud improves reading skills and that animals are ideal reading companions for kids – especially reluctant readers – because they provide a relaxed, comfortable and safe environment.”

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