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Caroline Miller of McKeesport, PA, tells how she found her mixed-breed dog, Molly, in the shelter and how she knew she had the right stuff to be a therapy dog. Miller’s Molly THDD has now earned the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished title for making at least 400 visits to help others. Her specialty is helping children learn to read. Molly is a member of the AKC Canine Partners program.

Molly is a Labrador Retriever – Newfoundland mix from a local animal shelter. From the moment I saw her, I knew there was just something special about her.

We started training Molly when she was 4 months old, and she worked hard to become a therapy dog. She attends community events, visits nursing homes, volunteers at the Tails That Wag reading program, and goes to college for mid-term and finals weeks.

Her favorite place is an elementary class for children with special needs. The teachers at the school call her visits “Molly Day” — the day that magic happens. The students can’t wait for “Molly Day.”  The children who do not read are now reading and the children who don’t touch are now showing signs of their surroundings and are touching. The teachers are so happy and so is Molly. She looks at each child as if he or she is the only person in the room.

The teachers asked me how I got Molly to look at the books when the children are reading to them. I just said, “It’s the magic of Molly.”