Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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November 2, 2013

Program offers alternative on learning to read

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

Dandy’s older sister Gracie, a golden doodle, got accepted there and visits children in the pediatric ward once a week. Dandy was destined to follow in her footsteps somehow.

“He’s not as calm as her, but he’s still very good at it,” Tindall said.

Using her pets this way was an obvious decision. Before Dandy and Gracie, Tindall had two mean dogs. So mean that nobody else wanted to be around them. After their time passed, Tindall made an effort to find nicer ones.

“These dogs are so loving and wonderful that we couldn’t keep them to ourselves,” she said. “We had to share.”

That’s good because Fox said there have been many success stories to come from PAWS to Read.

“I know of at least a few families where the children did not enjoy reading at all,” he said. “Kids in Indiana need to have their reading proficiency tested in third grade. One mother who testified about using the PAWS program said it really helped with her child.”

It has indeed been a gratifying experience for Tindall. She noted one of the first families Dandy ever worked with came every month until they had to move. Their daughter would make gifts and cards for Dandy.

“When she started she really needed the help,” Tindall said. “By the end she didn’t; she just came because she loved (Dandy). To watch her progress was very neat.”

A dog like Dandy can help in other ways. Tindall, who now teaches accounting at IUPUI, used to be on the faculty at UIndy. They allowed her to bring Dandy.

“Test days were the best times,” Tindall said. “He would walk around the room and whoever had the most tension that’s who he’d stop by. They’d be sitting there writing and petting him. He really calms them down.”

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