Students in Karen Lawrence‘s kindergarten class were introduced to Sable, a black Labrador retriever — the North Creek Elementary School’s official “reading dog” on Thursday morning, Sept. 27.
The 7-year-old, 80-pound certified therapy dog is owned by Barb Marshall of Sharon Township, and the canine and her owner spent a half-hour with the children on Sept. 27 to read them a story.
“Sable is a therapy dog,” Marshall told the children. “She is a dog we trained to make people happy. She’s not a service dog that helps people with a problem who can’t hear or see; it’s our job to make you smile.”
Marshall told the children that Sable loves to be petted and get dressed up and she has costumes for almost every holiday from Valentine’s Day to St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Christmas. She even has bunny ears for Easter.
Sable wears a special vest and has a special identification tag she wears when she visits people in hospitals such as Chelsea Community Hospital, nursing homes and retirement communities.
“She’s been through 12 weeks of classes and had homework every night and took a two-day test to become a therapy dog,” Marshall said.
Sable has webbed feet, Marshall told the children, and likes to have her ears and belly rubbed and the students were all too happy to oblige.
Before the dog arrives at a school or other location, she’s bathed, and her toe nails are clipped. All of her vaccinations are up-to-date and she’s fully insured.
Marshall told the children the dog loves to swim and go for walks, play with stuffed toys and put smiles on people’s faces.
“When you learn to read, you can read to her,” Marshall told the students before reading them a book.
The dog and her owner will visit two classrooms a month at North Creek as they make the rounds of their official school.
Before the special guest left the classroom, each child was given a book mark that gave history of Sable and said, “My most favorite activity, though, is visiting people and bringing them smiles and joy, so I hope I have done just that with my visit today.”