Our Mission & Work

The Program

Children may struggle with reading for a variety of reasons. Some children are intimidated by reading aloud in a group. Children may be self-conscious or may have a language difficulty. This can result in lower self-esteem, and children begin to view reading as a chore.

These barriers are quickly removed when the children read to a dog. Learning to read is less about intellectual limitations than about overcoming fears or insecurities.

The program has also shown good results for students who are mentally and physically challenged.



How The Program Works

  • The service dog and the student bond over a shared story that the student reads to the dog.

  • The children are asked to help the dog understand the story. This helps the children with enunciation and reading comprehension. The dog handler (Best Buddy) is there if the child needs help with certain words or has questions regarding the meaning of words or text.

  • Reading skills are developed in a relaxed one-on-one environment.

  • The student has a 30-minute session on the same day and at the same time each week for consistency.

  • Dogs do not tease or criticize. Instead the dog shows an interest in the child, and the child forgets their fear.

  • Dogs instinctively approach people who sit down, especially on the floor. To a dog, it is a nurturing environment.

  • Touching the dog while reading provides an additional therapeutic benefit to the child.

  • Dogs do not teach reading but form a partnership with the child, and the dog and Best Buddy creates the positive environment.

  • Animals increase relaxation and lower blood pressure.

  • Creates an excitement and interest for the child; reading becomes fun, and children want to be in the program.

Canine Classmates

P.O. Box 1381
Canyon Lake, TX 78133