Exclusive LUM Interview with Shelly (the Labradoodle)

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GRRR-Ruff. My name is Shelly, and I am a four-year-old Labradoodle. My dog guardians are Theresa & Mike Koger. Theresa, Mike and I live in Lafayette but they tell me they lived in Iowa prior to 1983.

I am a big fan of LUM because the students in the After School Program read to me every Wednesday afternoon all year round. I have been going to LUM since January 2011. After each of the kids finishes reading to me – I do tricks for them. My favorite tricks are giving them “hi-fives” and handshakes, hitting my “Easy” button, and doing my geometric shapes puzzle for them. My best trick is the cup and ball trick – where they hide a treat under one cup out of three and I find it. I love making them laugh and smile. Mostly though they read to me and we relax together.

Theresa (my dog guardian) is a licensed, clinical social worker, and I go to work with her 2-3 times a week as a “furry therapist” for both adults and kids.

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Being a furry therapist is very rewarding because I am able to comfort and console families who need to feel better. I guess I am pretty good at it because I have been invited to participate in the West Coast Addictions Symposium in California, the East Coast Symposium in Cape Cod; and the European Addictions Symposium in London in 2011.

In addition to my visits at LUM and my work as a furry therapist, I also participate in library reading programs, literacy programs in the local schools and regularly visit veterans and individuals with disabilities. It gives me great joy to give my human-friends happiness, comfort and hope during difficult times. I especially enjoy seeing the children in the

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LUM After School Program get excited about reading books and developing their mastery of the subject matter, knowledge, and their ability to apply that knowledge to the real world. It is a win-win – they become better readers and I get to hear great stories. I love it and I love those kids!

Kibbles and Bits

  • In 2009, 30% of Indiana 4th graders read at a below basic level
  • 36% read at a basic level of proficiency
  • 66% of Indiana fourth graders do not read at a proficient level-demonstrating mastery of subject matter, knowledge, or the ability to apply that knowledge in the real world
  • Shelly and others like her provide a win-win for helping to further the development and interest in reading for our children
  • There are proven therapeutic benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy in working with children and adults

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