PUYALLUP, Wash. -- 150 lbs. of fur stretches across the floor at Puyallup Public Library. French Mastiff "Bruiser" is a regular visitor here. Bruiser, a trained therapy dog, has a job -- he helps young children read.
Librarian Bonnie Anderson began the dog helper program eight years ago, after she saw it at a conference.
"It just makes sense, the dogs calm the kids down and provides an attentive audience," says Anderson. "I've watched kids become better readers simply by sitting next to a dog like Bruiser."
And what a dog! The moment Bruiser walks into the children's section, he becomes a rock star. Kids flock to him.
Owner Angie Reed said, "Bruiser loves kids, and wants to be petted and cuddled." That cuddling can be a bit difficult when the dog outweighs the child by more than a 100 lbs.
Seven-year-old Patrick Hopkins couldn't wait to sit next to Bruiser and begin reading aloud.
"I got the book 'Go Dog Go' because I think he'll like it," said Patrick.
Seven-year-old Margo Hermann read for a few minutes, but soon put the book down and rested her head on Bruisers' belly. Bruisers reaction? He kept on napping.
There are several dogs in the program besides Bruiser. The Puyallup Public Library posts times when the dogs are available.