It’s one of man's best friends giving back to the community. They say not to judge a book by its cover. In this case, there's more to a local St. Bernard, Clementine, than meets the eye.
Therapy dogs are used in libraries around the country to get kids interested in reading. But every week at the Ector County Library, it's who Clementine is waiting on that opens a new book.
"She's born to be a therapy dog,” said Clementine’s handler, Nancy Henderson. “She loves children more than anything."
Henderson has been with Clementine for about six years since she came from the pound. Since then, Clementine has been giving back. She’s one of the many therapy dogs around the country registered under Therapy Dogs International. For about a year, she's been coming to the Ector County Library meeting with children as they read stories out loud to her.
"Sometimes she'll put her paw on someone's knee and it seems to calm them down,” said Henderson. “It's fascinating what they can pick up about people."
The program "Tail Waggin’ Tutors" aims to improve reading skills to boost children's confidence, leaving Clementine all-ears. The program gives kids the opportunity of having a listener who won't judge or laugh if they make a mistake.
"That's really fascinating to watch because it's interesting to see the instincts dogs have and how they can read people and determine what their needs are," said Henderson.
A picture is worth a thousand words. For Clementine, these kids are worth a million. And she's not looking to stop any time soon.
“She’ll keep doing it as long as she enjoys it,” said Henderson. “Come and join us. Come read."
Kids get a free Clementine bookmark after reading to her. If you want to bring your kids to read to Clementine, she will be at the Ector County Library on Monday, Dec. 18 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. If you miss her today, Clementine will be at the library every week.