Maggie Can’t Read But She Inspires Many to Love Books
Loudon’s Maggie THDD CGC owned by Rennie Loudon of Warwick, RI
Maggie is a Reading Education Assistance Dog. The AKC Canine Partners member is certified with Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs and registered with R.E.A.D. Intermountain Therapy Animals and Cold Noses Warm Hearts. She recently was bestowed with the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished title for making 400-plus visits to help others. Her owner Rennie tells their story:
From the first night home, when she was just 8 weeks old, we knew Maggie was going to be the most social companion animal we have ever had. This was demonstrated the first night at home, by showing us how to unzip the soft crate, which was carefully placed between the pillows on the bed, and spending that first night sleeping on the pillows, face to face with her new pack.
Soon after, she went on her first charity walk. Friends that were further back in the starting order saw a phenomenon that they hadn't seen on previous events. Even though Maggie wasn't a registered participant and was walking on a parallel path, the main group of participants seem to stray off the assigned route in a visible pattern, being greeted by a small ambassador of the canine contingent. It was described as seeing a torrent of people being diverted, similar to the way a delta parts a river. This was repeated all along the five mile route and the wrap-up activities. Since then Maggie has become an official participant and fundraiser in several charity events. Last year she was recognized by the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association and received their Animal's Best Friend Award.
After seeing how much Maggie enjoyed meeting new people, especially the children, we tried to decide which human activities she might be well suited to be involved in.
Since she was particularly good with kids, we settled upon the idea of being a reading education assistance dog as the best job for Maggie. She started her journey to this end, by earning her AKC Canine Good Citizenship certification when she was a year old. She then went on to “study” to be a therapy dog and a “reading specialist.”
She tells the students she visits that she had to go to school so she could come to school to visit them. To this day, when she passes one of these "other" libraries she gets excited, hoping to go in and see kids. She always starts to "sing" and does the Snoopy dance, when we are about a mile away from one of the schools or libraries where she volunteers. This is how we are sure that she is happy doing this work.
When she visited her first school, the students called her “Superdog” and her motto became “Reading is my Superpower.” In addition to visiting schools and libraries, Maggie has been invited to a local bookstore and a comic convention.
We never cease to be amazed at how one small Beagle has found a place in this big world. And we are ever so grateful that she picked us to share it with.