In conjunction with our Story Dogs piece opposite, we thought you’d love to read about a special bearded collie gal called Lucy and her owner, Alan Cole, who have been making a real difference to children’s lives through the Story Dogs program.
Eight years old, this gorgeous canine takes a walk every morning on Mount Martha beach with Alan and his wife, Susie; has a saunter in the evening; and sets off to Mornington Park Primary School and Osborne Primary School respectively twice a week where she sits on a mat nestled up close to her student as Alan gets down to the business of reading. Alan explains. “She’s just a fantastic dog. We bought her from a breeder when she was a pup and have never looked back. She’s got inbuilt intelligence. If there’s ever any tension at home she comes up to us and places her paw on one of our legs and just waits. She’s never been food-driven. All she wants to do is please and be good. We trained her and she’s just a beaut!”
Lucy sleeps in Alan and Susie’s bedroom (on the floor!) in the Mount Martha house that’s been in Susie’s family for 60 years. She’s on the Royal Canine diet and loves a lounge on the rug in the living room too, but it is at school where she makes a major difference. Alan continues.
“The children read to her and don’t feel any of the pressure they may feel in front of their peer group. The eight-year-old kids we help really benefit. There was one boy who had just lost his grandfather and his dad wasn’t around. He was already two years older than the rest of the group. The sessions with Lucy and I made a huge difference. He caught up and began enjoying reading! We’ve been volunteering with Story Dogs for a couple of years now.”
Thumbs up to Lucy!
If you are interested in volunteering with your dog, or would like more information on Story Dogs, go to storydogs.org.au