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Making a Splash . [‘Coolest dog ever’ assists with reading at PDS]
Sierra Vista Herald ^ | Adam Curtis

Posted on 02/15/2013 5:22:01 PM PST by SandRat

SIERRA VISTA— Reading in a soft and deliberate tone, Pueblo del Sol first-grader Iliana Luna stopped suddenly and both she and fellow first-grader Tucker Nogales looked up with wide smiles.

Splash, a veritable celebrity on the school campus, had plopped his head down right smack in the middle of Luna’s book.

“I think he was trying to read it,” Title I Teacher Lisa Wilkinson said.

Sharon Raymond had already established Splash, her golden retriever, was having a “goofy” day. He’s normally calm but was especially placid on Tuesday, perhaps because of the cold weather.

Soon he started to warm up, emotionally if not physically, and gave Nogales some kisses to the ear following a goodbye hug, sending a giggling Nogales tumbling backwards.

Nogales and Luna are among two of 16 students who take 15-minute shifts with Splash every week, a privilege that also happens to get a lot of the school’s struggling readers on track with the rest of their classmates. Sporting a variety of certifications, Splash is a member of the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program and has been coming to Pueblo del Sol for nearly three years.

“The shyer kids always open up more with the dog,” Wilkinson said. “They’re reluctant readers because they’re afraid of making mistakes but when they’re with the dog, they relax and read away.”

But Splash is only part of the team, he’s accompanied by the two Sharons, Raymond and Selvy, who wear matching red shirts with blue paw prints on the front. While it’s clear they’re both dog lovers, Raymond and Selvy are also retired teachers, which Wilkinson said is really good for the kids because they know how to help the kids read without reading for them.

There was also one other member of the team, Selvy’s golden retriever, Toby, who died last year.

“They still talk about Toby sometimes” Wilkinson said. The school counselor recommended that the students write about their favorite moments with Toby and they created a book, complete with photos.

“There were some tears,” Wilkinson said. But it helped them work through their emotions and allowed some of the students to share their experiences of losing a pet.

When Toby died, it was kind of sad for second-grader Greg Jones but he said he’s used to working with Splash. “If Splash died, I would cry.”

Splash perked-up and ran over when Jones and the second batch of readers when they came into the classroom.

“Every time Splash sees me, he comes to me and he wants to snuggle with me and he kisses me for some reason. I don’t know why,” Jones said. His dad is deployed in Afghanistan, so Jones said Splash keeps him company.

While Jones insists he gives Splash the most treats, second-grader Laska Cortes takes charge of the water.

“Want more?” she asked, pouring some in his cup. “Yep, he’s going for it.”

Soon the students might get to meet a new friend, as Selvy is getting her new golden retriever, Cody, ready for his Canine Good Citizen test. The dogs must be calm, obedient and react well to being startled in order to be used in the program and be covered by liability insurance.

Retrievers are ideal because of their calm, friendly temperament, they make great “petting machines,” Selvy said.

The philosophy of the program is that when the kids read to the dogs everything else fades into the background, making them calm and focused.

It also gives the kids something to look forward to each week, Selvy said. “Dog day is a special day.”

Raymond said that most of the kids she’s worked with in the last three years have graduated out of the program and returned to their regular classroom. The dogs help them learn to enjoy reading, so it’s not a chore anymore.

Raymond and Selvy were recently honored as part of the 13th anniversary ceremony for the R.E.A.D. program and the San Pedro Kiwanis Club’s Just for Kid Foundation volunteered to buy books for the Title I kids at the school.

She thinks the program has been really great for the kids, and it’s good for Splash too, Raymond said. “He just really loves coming to school.”

Each Tuesday when she tells Splash it’s time to go, he hops right in the car. Raymond said if she let him go at the school office he walk straight across campus and put his nose on the classroom door.

“This is really what he’s supposed to do,” she said. “The whole school knows who he is.”

Though Splash has a lot of fans, Jones may just be the most vocal of the bunch. He had one special request for this article.

TOPICS: Education; Local News; Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: arizona; school
"Tucker Nogales says goodbye to Splash until they see each other again next week.

"Tucker Nogales, 7, reads to Splash, a 3-year-old Golden Retriever, during the “Reading Education Assistance Dogs” program at Pueblo del Sol Elementary School on Tuesday. Also listening in are; Sharon Raymond, owner of therapy dog Splash, and Iliana Luna, 7."

1 posted on 02/15/2013 5:22:22 PM PST by SandRat
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To: Joe 6-pack

Woof Woof

2 posted on 02/15/2013 5:24:11 PM PST by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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To: AnAmericanMother; Titan Magroyne; Badeye; SandRat; arbooz; potlatch; afraidfortherepublic; ...

Computer Hope

The Doggie Ping list is for FReepers who would like to be notified of threads relating to all things canid. If you would like to join the Doggie Ping Pack (or be unleashed from it), FReemail me.

3 posted on 02/15/2013 5:30:00 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: SandRat
Mine spent the first half of the day in a bacon coma.

Image Hosted by
4 posted on 02/15/2013 5:42:00 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek

How does one post a photo to FR?

5 posted on 02/15/2013 5:49:13 PM PST by ought-six ( Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)
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To: SandRat

To your dog, home is where ever you are...

6 posted on 02/15/2013 5:52:32 PM PST by Wuli
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To: ought-six

First you have to get a free imageshack account. (or any other but imageshack is among the easier to deal with.) Its easy with a little practice just remember to avoid posting ginormous photos or the thread police will come down on you hard.

and this thread asks the same question and provides as good an answer as you’ll ever get.

7 posted on 02/15/2013 5:59:07 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Splash reminds me of Max who we had to put down last Friday. He was suffering from Pancreatic Cancer, and I still can’t believe he is gone. Max was a red-gold coated retriever — unlike those blondie ones you saw at the Westminster this week.

How we miss him!

8 posted on 02/15/2013 6:06:19 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

My deepest sympathies. I know they leave a pretty big hole when they’re gone...

9 posted on 02/15/2013 6:19:01 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

You have my deepest sympathies and sincerest condolences over the loss of your canine companion. It’s been almost three years since I lost Big Red to lung cancer. I. Hate. Cancer.

10 posted on 02/15/2013 6:25:58 PM PST by bigredkitty1 (March 5,2010. Rest in peace, sweet boy. I will miss you, Big Red.)
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The Place for Conservatives

Support Free Republic
No Outside Influence

11 posted on 02/15/2013 6:46:06 PM PST by RedMDer (May we always be happy and may our enemies always know it. - Sarah Palin, 10-18-2010)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

So sorry for the loss of Max. Words cannot express the loss one feels when a cherished pet is gone. We have had many dogs over the years-each loss seem harder to bear.
Pug kisses from my little family.

12 posted on 02/15/2013 8:16:57 PM PST by pugmama
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To: cripplecreek

You could title that pic “Doggie Nirvana”.

13 posted on 02/15/2013 8:44:23 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Pride in the USA
Lovely story. If I was a retired teacher, like the owners of these dogs, and if I had a dog that was capable of passing the Canine Good Citizen test (like, oh maybe...Harley?), this might seem kind of tempting.

Cute picture...

14 posted on 02/16/2013 8:39:14 AM PST by lonevoice (Today I broke my personal record for most consecutive days lived)
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To: afraidfortherepublic; Joe 6-pack; bigredkitty1; pugmama
My condolences on the loss of you dog.

"Loss of your dog." That sounds so inadequate. It IS so inadequate. It is SO much more than merely "The loss of your dog."

I do not have the words to express what I want to say. Perhaps some of these others can do it better.

“Dogs’ lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and for the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”

--from The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.

--George Graham Vest - c. 1855

Why dogs don’t live as long as people by Robin Downing, DVM

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owner, his wife, and their little boy were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, the owners told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old boy to observe the procedure. They felt he could learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. The little boy seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

The little boy, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life - like loving everybody and being nice, right?” The four-year- old continued, “Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

A Dog for Jesus

(Where dogs go when they die)

by Rudyard Kipling

I wish someone had given Jesus a dog.
As loyal and loving as mine.
To sleep by His manger and gaze in His eyes
And adore Him for being divine.

As our Lord grew to manhood His faithful dog,
Would have followed Him all through the day.
While He preached to the crowds and made the sick well
And knelt in the garden to pray.

It is sad to remember that Christ went away.
To face death alone and apart.
With no tender dog following close behind,
To comfort its Master’s Heart.

And when Jesus rose on that Easter morn,
How happy He would have been,
As His dog kissed His hand and barked it’s delight,
For The One who died for all men.

Well, the Lord has a dog now, I just sent Him mine,
The old pal so dear to me.
And I smile through my tears on this first day alone,
Knowing they’re in eternity.

Day after day, the whole day through,
Wherever my road inclined,
Four feet said, “Wait, I’m coming with you!”
And trotted along behind.

The Power of the Dog

by Rudyard Kipling

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair—
But ... you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ‘em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Best Twilight Zone ever about a man and his dog:.

15 posted on 02/16/2013 9:34:25 AM PST by rmh47 (Go Kats! - Got eight? NRA Life Member])
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To: cripplecreek

Awwwww.. Adorable! I have a Border Collie/ Sheltie mix, but I love Jack Russell’s, too!

16 posted on 02/16/2013 11:39:57 AM PST by DivineMomentsOfTruth ("Give me Liberty or I'll stand up and get it for myself!")
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To: rmh47

Darn these glasses, the screen is all blurry now.

17 posted on 02/16/2013 7:28:14 PM PST by bigredkitty1 (March 5,2010. Rest in peace, sweet boy. I will miss you, Big Red.)
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To: rmh47

My screen is all blurry now. Thank you.

18 posted on 02/17/2013 9:56:18 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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