Barks & Books

Join the Library's volunteer therapy dogs during our Barks & Books program and read to a dog! 
Open to Grades 1-5. Visit our events calendar to register!

Meet Lola, our matriarch Cockapoo! 12 Years Young!

How did you get interested in therapy dogs?
Mary: My daughter had a therapy dog and once I retired I wanted to give it a try. Lola is a rescue. She was found malnourished and wandering on the street and taken in by a shelter. She has spent the last seven years as a therapy dog. Lola is a smart girl with a special talent for escaping her pet carrier. Once we were traveling by plane and she unzipped her carrier and ran down the aisle while the plane was in flight!

What kind of training did you and Lola do? 
Mary: Lola is a certified therapy dog via Pet Partners. She has had three levels of training; because we were uncertain of her background we wanted to make sure she was a good fit for being a volunteer therapy pet. She passed the Canine Good Citizenship test and is retested every two years. 

Does she work as a therapy dog in any other settings?
Mary: Lola has a busy schedule! She volunteers at South Salem Elementary School, and in the past has volunteered at area nursing homes. At school she works with children with special needs and they're always excited to have her her visit. She is very calm and good with people with disabilities. She also works with memory care residents. 

What’s her favorite part of her library visits?
Mary: Lola loves being around people. She knows we are going for a visit when she has her bows in her ears. She also likes to dress up and has quite the wardrobe. Halloween is her favorite holiday! She likes visiting and loves attention!

Thank you Mary and Lola!

Meet Roxie (and her human Carrie)! Roxie is the very definition of adorable. She is a 4-year-old Bichon Frise.


How did you get interested in therapy dogs and the library’s Barks & Books program?
Carrie: I heard about Barks & Books through the children's librarian, Emily. As I was telling her about Roxie passing her Therapets Certification, she let me know about the Barks & Books program. 

What kind of training did you and Roxie do? 
Carrie: We had a family friend let us know about Therapets and we thought Roxie's calming presence would be a great addition to the group. First, we had her in the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) classes and she passed that exam. That gave us a good idea how well she would listen on command. We knew she was smart, just not sure how obedient! Turns out she was better at testing than we were! I was a Nervous Nellie upon testing for the Therapets certification, and I'll never forget Roxie walking into the room like she'd done it a million times before.  

Does she work as a therapy dog in any other settings?
Carrie: Roxie does go to some elementary schools, assisted living/nursing homes, and even a substance abuse recovery facility. 

What’s your favorite part of her visits? 
Carrie: My favorite part is seeing people's faces light up when they see her. I love when they pet her and say how soft she is and say what a good girl she is. Roxie likes doing her tricks because her favorite part is the treats, of course!

Thank you Carrie and Roxie!

Meet Olaf (and his human Amanda)! Olaf is a dapper 3-year-old Cockapoo.


How did you get interested in therapy dogs and the library’s Barks & Books program?
AmandaOlaf is my first dog, ever! As a stay-at-home mom, I wanted a “puppy with a purpose,” so I researched what kind of dogs make good therapy pets; I wanted to be able to serve in the community while my daughters were in school. I heard about Barks and Books in 2019 and wanted my daughters to get comfortable around dogs. Mary and Lola (another therapy dog team) were so patient, and Mary was instrumental in helping Olaf and me certify with Therapets. 

What kind of training is involved?
AmandaOlaf and I trained with Therapets’ Canine Good Citizen’s class in the winter of 2021. Therapets is part of Pet Partners, and I completed online handler training through their organization, and we passed an in-person evaluation in March, 2021 to be certified as a therapy animal team. 

Does he work as a therapy dog in any other settings? 
AmandaOlaf and I visit schools in Salem.  He loves children and will do pretty much anything for a treat!

What’s his favorite part of his library visits?
AmandaOlaf loves the attention he gets (did I mention treats? Ha!) He knows when I put on his tie or bow tie that he is going to “work.” I love watching children get excited to see him!  Having him there while children read is a confidence boost to them. 

Thank you Amanda and Olaf!