Practice Reading and Make a New Friend - A New Introduction

Meet Casey and Michele Johnson: PAL Volunteers

Once a month at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, dogs and their owners from People Animals Love (PAL) come to help children practice their reading skills through the Read to a Four-Legged Friend program.

PAL was founded by veterinarian Dr. Earl Strimple, who frequently saw the positive relationships that take place between animals and humans. PAL has grown from a program that began in 1982 aiding grieving individuals to one that serves humans in a variety of situations, from prisons to nursing homes. Although PAL volunteers have been to Martin Luther King Jr. Library to participate in programs through Adaptive Services, the summer of 2012 was the beginning of a consistent program with the children’s department.

Photograph of a Golden Retriever named CaseyMichele Johnson and her Golden Retriever, Casey, have been participating in Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library’s Read to a Four-legged Friend program for about a year. Ms. Johnson adopted Casey five years ago when he was 1 year old from Golden Retriever Rescue Education and Training (GRREAT), an organization that rescues Golden Retrievers and finds them new homes.

In addition to being a good listener for our young readers, Casey also provides friendship and company to the veterans at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. One of Casey’s favorite treats is apple and peanut butter together. He has a collection of stuffed animals, and when a visitor arrives to his home, he usually brings one of them as a gift to the guest. His favorite stuff animal is a dog named Brother. Casey is also a great swimmer and looks forward to a possible vacation on Kent Island (MD) later in August.

Casey and Michele Johnson will return to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in August for the next Read to a Four-legged Friend program scheduled for Monday, Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. in the Children’s Room. Casey hopes to see you there!