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Pup fiction: Park Slope kids read to dogs at Brooklyn’s most adorable event

Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

1/6
Welcome to love town: Kids read to canine Teddy at the Powerhouse on 8th bookstore in Park Slope on Friday.
2/6
That’s cool: Teddy the goldendoodle can’t read, but he loves the pictures. It’s a snowman, Teddy, your favorite!
3/6
Something’s wrong: Kids reading to kids? That’s not right.
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Luna-tics: Stop distracting Luna, she’s trying hear the story!
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The cat’s meow: A little girl reads a book about kitties to an unimpressed Willow the poodle.
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Fairytale ending: Teddy tried his best to follow the story, but he’s a dog.

They’re telling tails out of school!

Park Slope first-graders read children’s books to dogs at the Powerhouse on 8th bookstore last Friday, in an event so ridiculously sweet employees were left wondering if they’d hallucinated the whole thing.

“It was pretty unbelievably cute,” said store manager Reilly Rennhack. “It was almost, like, an absurd level of cute.”

Around 50 kids from two first-grade classes at PS 107 journeyed to the Eighth Avenue emporium, where they selected books and read them to four lovable therapy pups — Teddy the goldendoodle, Luna the staffordshire-lab mix, Little Dude the poodle-Shih Tzu-bichon mix, and returning guest Willow the poodle — all from the Good Dog Foundation, which links up well-trained canines with those in need of some unconditional love.

First graders benefit from practicing their reading skills in front of the judgment-free pups, because they offer considerably less criticism than their two-legged counterparts, according to a rep for organization.

“In a classroom, other kids can sometimes be cruel, but the dogs provide unconditional love and attention for them,” said Alexander Thompson, marketing and development manager at the Good Dog Foundation. “It provides a much safer place from them to practice reading out loud.”

The kids were very considerate and most picked books that their furry friends could relate to, according to Rennhack.

“I pulled out stacks of books, so they wouldn’t go through everything on the shelves, but the kids all read books about dogs,” she reported.

And they were extremely well behaved — the kids, that is — unlike last year’s rascals, who ran a bit wild, according to one organizer.

“The kids were so relaxed and focused,” said Mary Huhn of PS 107’s Beast Relief Committee, which organized the event as part of its mission to foster good relations between child and beast. “Last year there was much more running around and we had to change dogs a lot. This year they were really focused on the dogs and wanting to read.”

It is unclear if the dogs themselves understood any of this — the nature of books, the joy of reading, or their place in the universe — but they seemed to enjoy themselves nonetheless, Rennhack said.

“You know how when you read to babies, they don’t understand, they’re just excited you’re paying attention to them?” the bookstore manager said. “They were sweet and calm, and happy to have a bunch of kids around.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Elizabeth Kuster from Park Slope says:
Great little piece -- fun and well-written and -reported.
Nov. 21, 2016, 1:20 pm

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