216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


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Friday, March 6, 2020

The Library is Going To The Dogs!

 By Jan Pease

This Saturday, March 14, several teams of dogs and owners from Therapy Dogs International will visit Litchfield Library at 10:00. 
The Dassel Enterprise Dispatch explained our local chapter last year in their list of organizations in the Dassel area. “Therapy Dogs International (TDI) is a volunteer group organized to provide qualified handlers and their therapy dogs for visitations to institutions, facilities, and other places where there is a need. The non-profit organization was founded in 1976, and is headquartered in Flanders, NJ. TDI Chapter 252 includes Meeker, McLeod, Kandiyohi, and Wright Counties, and is based out of Hutchinson. Currently, there are 11 active members in the area including members from Dassel, Cokato, Lester Prairie, Hutchinson, Litchfield, Willmar, Howard Lake, and Stewart. Contacts are Robin Bucholz at 612-655-6053 or; and Char Gatz at 612-203-7829”

The official name for TDI dogs that listen to children read is “Tail Waggin’ Tutors.” I love that these volunteer owners are willing to bring these sweet dogs into the library.  Children gain confidence in reading with a patient, gentle dog beside them.  Children who aren’t comfortable around animals often have a positive experience being near these well-taught dogs. When the dogs visit Litchfield Library, we always talk about how to meet a dog and what to do if a dog is not friendly. 

Would your dog be a candidate to be a registered therapy dog?  What are the requirements? According to the TDI website, “A Therapy Dog must have an outstanding temperament. This means that the dog should be outgoing and friendly to all people; men, women, and children. The dog should be tolerant of other dogs (of both genders) and non-aggressive toward other pets. Before you consider having your dog evaluated, you should ask yourself if your dog has these qualities.”

Dogs need basic and intermediate obedience experience. They are tested by evaluators and must pass thirteen tests. Take a look at the brochure from the TDI website:

The library can print you a copy of the TDI brochures if you’re interested. I know my little dog, Gracie, would not be able to pass the tests even though she is a well-behaved dog.    

I enjoy having the therapy dogs visit the library.  My special dog-friend, Hazel, will be there on March 14th.  Hazel gets so silly about being at the library (and seeing me) that she forgets her training, and just loves and loves and loves.  This has been going on for four or five years.  Three other teams are expected, so bring children or grandchildren and enjoy a visit with TDI chapter 252.  See you at the library!