This was the second week of our “drive-by” book tour from Minneapolis to Chicago with stops at Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois. It has been a thrill to meet and greet the devoted dog lovers and animal enthusiasts who come to these book events. To those of you who are joining our Angel Animals Story of the Week newsletter family for the first time this week after meeting us at a bookstore – Welcome!
In Madison we were able to have Linda read about how great dogs are to two R.E.A.D. dogs — Willow and Molly. They and their handlers are part of a wonderful organization called Dogs on Call. This group has pet therapy dogs who listen to children read at libraries and schools. The group’s volunteers also take therapy dogs to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to visit with seniors.
Polly Cisco, the president of Dogs and Call, spoke eloquently about what the R.E.A.D. dogs do to help children who are having difficulties. It goes so much further than raising test scores and improving skills. Reading to a dog increases children’s self-confidence in ways that go far beyond academic achievement.
Polly told about a little boy who had been bullied. He read to Polly’s R.E.A.D. dog regularly and loved it. Then he asked Polly if he could take her dog to Show and Tell in his classroom, and she said yes.
On the day when the child introduced Polly’s dog to his class, he stood proudly in front of the room and shared with the students the research he had done on the dog’s breed — golden retriever. Then he allowed students to come to the front of the room, one by one, and pet the dog.
Polly said that instead of being the child who was bullied; he was now the child in charge of the room. He stood proudly that day and gained stature in the eyes of his classmates. All with the help of a willing and loving dog.
In Milwaukee our event was co-hosted at Boswell Book Company by the Wisconsin Humane Society. Anne Reed, the organization’s executive director, introduced us. Later, we interviewed her in front of the group and asked about the shelter’s philosophies, accomplishments, and challenges. WHS also rescues wildlife in addition to rescuing and preparing domesticated animals for re-homing.
Anne emphasized that shelter dogs are not necessarily dogs who got into trouble and were kicked out of their homes. They are usually animals who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. Most of the animals are surrendered and have full histories that can be passed along to adopters. Some are fostered until they can be adopted. The group’s volunteers were there to sell raffle tickets and give out information for how the community can support the shelter.
In Chicago at Anderson’s Bookshop (no relation to us, but it would be nice) we featured the no-kill shelter A.D.O.P.T. Donna Picard, a board member, shared information about the shelter. She also brought bookmarks for people to take. Each one had the photo and short story about an animal who needs a home on one side and contact information for the shelter on the other side. What a great idea for any shelter that is going to take part in an author book event!
A highlight for this leg of the journey was our interview with the extraordinary Steve Dale. In addition to his Chicago radio show, nationally syndicated radio show/podcast, and Steve Dale Pet Minute, he has a syndicated pet column and writes articles for USA Weekend. He also serves on the board of many nonprofit animal welfare organizations, including one we have much admiration for — American Humane Association.
Steve was delightful to talk with, and we felt as if we made a new friend with a man who has devoted his career to helping animals in every way possible. More to come after we find out when you can listen to these interviews.
We stopped along the way to and from Minneapolis at Barnes & Nobles Bookstores in Madison and Rockford to sign books. What a warm reception we received as the managers pulled out stacks for us to autograph and sticker with the notice that these were now “author signed” books.
Visit www.angelanimals.net/recentevents.html to view photos and videos of our drive by book launch celebration tour.
Keep up with us by going to www.dogsandthewomenwholovethem.com/calendar.html
You may notice that most of the places where we are doing presentations are independent bookstores. We are trying to help support these beacons of light and learning in local communities. We appreciate all the bookstores, online and brick & mortar, that sell our books. But if you want to make a difference in your communities, please consider also buying books from independent bookstores.