By Susan Crawford, M.Sc.
You’ve no doubt heard about therapy dogs who sit in libraries with children while they practice reading. The dogs seem to like just being with the children, and the children, especially the ones with difficulties, seem to really improve their reading skills. But have you ever stopped to wonder if the dogs listen to the stories and if they actually like being read to. Have you ever read a book to your dog? Has your child ever read a book to your dog?
It is definitely worth doing, but don’t pick just any book. There is a special book of poetry written just for your dog. Lony Ruhmann and his dogs, Juve and Maggie, are the masterminds behind Bite This Book. They have done a fabulous job of capturing the emotions that occur between dogs and their guardians.
The language is simple, but special. You and your dog will be guided into Juve’s mind, what he loves during his walks, what he thinks about, and how he is feeling during his entire day from morning until bedtime. Perhaps the words like park, ball, dodge, pee pee, cuddles, neck rubs and love will be what catches your dog’s attention as you read Ruhmann’s book to your dog. My dog is crazy about anything that squeaks, so he was absolutely spellbound listening to the poem about squeaky toys. There is even one poem about adoption and how scary it is for an animal to come into a new home.
The writing is so vivid that you will be able to see your dog in action in a very imaginative way. And of course, there might be a few chuckles as Juve tells about his bathroom habits. Maybe your dog will curl up and doze off while you read about warm food and rolling on your carpet, or maybe your dog will sit up and bark as you read about parks.
Bite this Book is a great addition to any dog lover’s library, and also a great addition to any child’s library. Your dog will love listening to these stories and will love the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with you — time that doesn’t involve a cell phone, computer or TV — just you and your best friend reading and listening and smiling at every possible moment.