A new four-legged staff member has joined the team at Stratford Library and she has a special job: can you guess what?
The new staff member is a dog called Holly, who is working in an exciting new programme for kids reading. That's right, she's a cute cuddly dog who kids can read to. It might seem weird, but this programme runs in other libraries where staff have seen kids make positive progress in their reading when they read to a dog.
Stratford's new reading dog Holly is a four-year-old English Cocker spaniel. Holly lives with Jane Roguski, one of the librarians.
Jane says she is pleased Holly can come to work with her.
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"I wanted to do this because I kept wanting to bring Holly to work and Bridget (Roper, the library visitor information and library services team leader) said I only could if she had a proper job to do. So now she has. But I haven't tried her yet and she might be very naughty".
Holly is never usually naughty though, Jane says.
"I thought Holly might be good at this job because she loves people, and people love her. She is very soft and gentle and caring."
To get her job, Holly had to go through some special training. Canine Friends Pet Therapy is a New Zealand-wide network of people who share their friendly, well-behaved dogs with patients in hospitals and residents in rest homes and hospices. Holly has already been visiting Jane's Dad in a rest home and she loves visiting old people, Jane says.
Jane is still working out the details of the programme at the library but is hoping Holly will be available a couple of afternoons a week for children to read to. People will have to book a time to read to Holly. Holly will have a special bandanna to show she is a pet therapy dog and Jane will supervise Holly.
People might like Holly so much they want to take her home but that won't be allowed, Jane says. It is important people are gentle with Holly because she is a living being.
If you would like to get in touch with Jane about reading with Holly you can call her at the library or ask her next time you are there.