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A child reads to a therapy dog during the recent Tales with Tails held at the base library.

Photo by Kaitlyn Sullivan

Story time has gone to the dogs

18 Jul 2017 | Kaitlyn Sullivan/PAO Intern Marine Corps Base Quantico

Tales with Tails therapy dogs returned to the Quantico Base Library on July 14 to listen as children read their favorite stories to them. Tales with Tails allows children to read to therapy dogs in the hope of both encouraging reading and bringing shy readers out of their shell.

Many studies have shown that children become significantly more confident to read out loud when there is a therapy animal present. Throughout the event every child was excited to read to the dogs and a few even said that dogs were the best listeners. Over half of the children had dogs at home, but still chose to attend the event.  This is an amazing example of the differences between a therapy dog and a regular pet. Many of the kids present at the event spoke of how calm the therapy dogs were compared to their pets and how the dog listening to them made reading a lot more fun.

The handlers said that the dogs have to be trained and earn certification to become a registered therapy dog and must exhibit a mild temperament and friendliness.  Naturally, this often makes people more relaxed and calm within minutes of approaching the dog. One handler went on to speak about how important the connection she and her dog share is, and how they work as a team to make both adults and children feel more comfortable and welcome. This connection was apparent when as soon as the handler began listening and speaking with a child the therapy dog would also begin to listen and settle in beside the child.

Library Technician and Program Coordinator Kaylee Wilsher came up with the idea for the Tales with Tails when she spent some time with therapy dogs in college. Tales with Tales is one of many of the programs that Wilsher has started since she became a library technician on base in October 2014. When she first arrived here the only event that the library hosted was story time. Now the library hosts multiple events on a weekly or monthly basis such as age specific story times, Makerspace, a teen anime night, family game night and even Spanish story time. While doing all of this, they also manage to host special events such as the firefighter and Provost Marshall Office story time, the next one to be held  July 28 at 10 a. m.  A full event calendar can be found at the library or on the base library’s Facebook page at

On Aug. 4 the Quantico Base Library will be holding their final Tales with Tails event for the summer. The event will be held from 1?2:30 p.m.  Guests must reserve a 15 minute time slot within this period where they will be able to have one-on-one time with a therapy dog.   You can make a reservation by calling the library at 703-432-4530 or by walking in and signing up in person. The therapy dogs are Cody, Sophie and Pierre.   They are all registered family therapy dogs from a local organization. All of the dogs are well trained, certified therapy dogs and can even do tricks.

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