Therapy Dog Helps Children to Read

Wayne Robicheau, Tucker, and Jayden HurtTucker and Wyatt ChiltonWayne Robicheau, Tucker, Lashae Curtsinger, Donald Bishop, Emmaly ChiltonWayne Robicheau, Tucker,Tammy Neurohr and Jason Alexander

Bringing smiles and a nonjudgmental environment to elementary students, Tucker the Therapy Dog has been visiting Anderson County schools as part of a new program to help children to read.  Wayne Robicheau, owner of Tucker and Bailey who are both certified therapy dogs, pioneered the Read For Paws program in Anderson County that lets elementary school students read aloud to Tucker or Bailey in a supportive environment, letting them stumble without feeling pressure.

Wayne, who does the program entirely as a volunteer, has always had a passion for helping his community.  He served for 15 years as a volunteer firefighter in Pennsylvania.  While still living in PA, he came across Tucker, a German Shepherd, who was in a shelter.  Tucker was in very poor health and malnourished.  Wayne took him in and rehabilitated Tucker, even at times carrying him around when he had trouble moving.

With Tucker in good health, he came across an article one day about activities to do with your dog.  He read about therapy dogs and thought that would be a great way to give back to community: “Always thought with him being a rescue, I just wanted to give back to the community.”

So he contacted a school in PA about the idea and the principal there was thrilled.  He then got the proper certifications and paperwork needed and started the canine therapy with Tucker.  And then when he moved to Kentucky, he and Tucker started visiting regional hospitals to help patients.

But he also wanted to start a reading program here in the county.  Working with the school board and Tammy Neurohr from Robert B Turner, they were able to create the new program for students of all different ages.  The students now get to read to Tucker every Thursday.

The teachers and students really enjoy the new Read For Paws program.  Jason Alexander, a teacher at Turner, said, “I think it’s one of those things that boosts the confidence of the students.”

To see all of Tucker’s amazing work, check out his Facebook page dedicated to all the help both he and Bailey bring.

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Posted in Family & Community, School & Education.

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