PLAINFIELD — The “One County One Book” series culminated this week with an event dubbed Canine Crossing at Hummel Park, ending a series of events starting in early September aimed at getting youth across the county interested in sharing their reading experiences for a good cause.
Participating libraries are the Avon-Washington Township Public Library, Brownsburg Public Library, Clayton-Liberty Township Public Library, Coatesville-Clay Township Public Library, Danville Public Library, and Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library.
Last year, the event raised more than $800 toward the education of underprivileged Afghan children.
This year’s book selection was Mornings with Barney by Dick Wolfsie, chronicling the story of a beagle and his adventures. Dog food was collected at the county’s six libraries to be donated to the Hendricks County Humane Society, and for those who cannot afford to buy food for their pets.
The Canine Crossing event featured pet contests, competitions, and even a shepherding seminar with live sheep.
Bill Reed, who is on the committee for the One County One Book event, said he hoped that people not only enjoyed themselves, but got to understand the array of different things each of the libraries offer in conjunction with one another, including reciprocal borrowing.
”I think it’s a community wide rallying point, trying to get cohesiveness among the six libraries,” he said. “It brings out more awareness in terms of what we do, because I think a lot of people are one dimensional in terms of what the library does for them. There’s the philanthropy side, general involvement, and obviously reciprocal borrowing.”
Christie Sinclair, another committee member, added, “We hope this is encouraging people to branch out to different libraries.”
Joanna Carter of the Plainfield public library noted that this year’s involvement in the program was outstanding, in part due to the fourlegged friends in attendance.
”The dogs really were the ticket this year,” she said. “A lot ofpeople are dog lovers, so they’re a little more aware of everything going on and they want to come partake in it. On top of that, reading the book has been so much fun because Dick Wolfsie is hilarious, and it was a good book to connect this community.”
Carter mentioned the array of awards being given to those who brought their dogs to participate.
”We have a dog look alike contest, best howling voice, best tail, and more,”she said.
The event even featured a “Kiss a Bulldog”booth, where those interested could get a smooch from a bulldog.
In addition, several groups set up areas to educate patrons on all levels on animal care. One such participant was Therapy Dogs International (TDI), which has a chapter in Avon. They brought therapy dogs to not only help the animals practice being in different situations, but to show how they can aid those who might not know about them.
”They are an emotional support system to make people happy,”said CynthiaLyon of the Avon TDI chapter. “We want to make people aware of what therapy dogs are all about in the community and share what we know about the goodness of therapy dogs.”
She said the dogs are often charged with going into hospitals and nursing homes to spread cheer, but also take part in school or library functions as they are found to sometimes help the educational process.
David Callahan, another member of the group, added, “A lot of whether or not a dog canbe a therapy dog is in the dog’s disposition. They need to be trainable to be around all kinds of situations.”
Lyon said, “They need to be desensitized to lots and lots of distractions, such as all the equipment from hospitals. This is a good experience for them to train, because when someone walks up to them, they have to understand how to act even though they don’t know that person from Adam.”
For more information on the One County One Book program, visit the website at hendrickslibrary1c1b.com or contact any of the local libraries.