Young readers open up to Montrose Library's dogeared guest

House rules at a library call for silence, but surprisingly, one of the most quiet patrons at the Montrose Library Tuesday afternoon was a very well-behaved dog.

Five-and-a-half-year-old McEnroe, a yellow Labrador retriever, spent a few hours laying around as a handful of kids read aloud to him as part of the Pasadena Humane Society's Barks and Books program.

Librarian Erin Straley said the event has been held about a once a month at the library for the past five years and that reading to a quiet canine creates a nonjudgmental environment for children.

"They're getting positive reinforcement. They're improving their reading skills over the long term," she said. "It's very positive."

McEnroe is a fully trained therapy dog, so one of his best tricks is keeping calm and cool.

He didn't let out a single bark as three youngsters took turns reading to him and petting him.

"He's pretty mellow," said McEnroe's owner, Lynne Hall, who volunteers with the humane society. "He doesn't mind being mauled or surrounded by kids."

Five-year-old Danica Dyer read a picture book about going to the beach to McEnroe.

Her grandmother, Sandy Childs, said Barks and Books is getting her granddaughter more excited about reading, especially with kindergarten coming up in a few months.

"She loves to read and she's getting more of it," Childs said. "She's getting experience in the library."

Hall said that, as a therapy dog, McEnroe also visits patients in hospitals.

"I think it's good for dogs to have a purpose," she said.

The next installments of Barks and Books will be held on at 3 p.m. on July 1 and 15 at the Montrose Library, 2465 Honolulu Ave.


Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.


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