It’s cuteness overload when kids read to a dog at Wayland library
– A small but strong voice sang out “oom-paIt’s cuteness overload when kids read to a dog at Wayland library-oom-pa,” a chorus in the middle of the book Charlie Tandon read aloud to his new friend Corbyn.
Corbyn lounged and snacked as Charlie read, then got up and planted his big, wet tongue right on the side of Charlie’s face. Corbyn is a Samoyed therapy dog. He spent time with children at the Wayland Library on Saturday morning with owner Helen Sullivan to encourage a love of reading and spread smiles.
Through the Pets and People Foundation, Corbyn and Sullivan travel the area visiting people in need of pet therapy. The pair visit nursing homes, hospitals, rehab centers and more, providing people the joy of Corbyn’s affection. Sullivan said Saturday’s visit was designed to give children a fun reason to read in an environment free of judgment.
“If a child doesn’t like to read, they like to read with the dog,” Sullivan said. “No one can criticize them, so they sound out the words without hesitation. They read fine to him.”
Big, white and very fluffy, Corbyn sat patiently on the floor of the Raytheon room at the library while Raine Amory, 9, of Brookline and Charlie, 4, of Framingham, read to him over the course of an hour.
Charlie read aloud confidently, taking clues from the page, reading louder when it seemed he should and singing that “oom-pa” chorus from the book “Harry and the Lady Next Door.” He only paused when the dog moved and made him jump. Corbyn is much bigger than Charlie, sitting or standing, but just as gentle. Corbyn showed he was harmless with a few more licks to both Charlie and Raine’s faces.
“I do not like when dogs lick me,” Charlie had warned, but smiled anyway.
Neither Raine nor Charlie have trouble reading, but they came just to spend some time with the friendly pup. Though he might not have been providing therapy on Saturday, those sneaky smiles were proof enough of Corbyn’s purpose at the library.
“He loves books more than anything, and he loves dogs, but we don’t have one,” Whitney Tandon, Charlie’s mother, said. “He spent so long picking out the right dog book for Corbyn.”
Raine marveled at the dog, pausing every so often to pat his head.
“Dogs are so intelligent,” he said with a smile.
Raine wasn’t the only one to marvel at Corbyn. Everyone who passed through the library was instantly attracted to the majestic and radiant white dog, and each of them smiled.
Sullivan said Corbyn’s breed is known to be friendly and calm. His demeanor made him a perfect fit in a rehab center in Concord, which Sullivan said was too noisy and chaotic for many other therapy dogs.
“Samoyeds are happy-go-lucky, love-everyone type of dogs,” she said.
The excitement buzzing in the library and the gigantic smiles between Raine and Charlie are why Sullivan volunteers her time and her dog, she said.
“I love doing it and the dog loves doing it,” Sullivan said with a grin. “It’s fun.”