He's gentle, patient and will encourage you with a nudge—as long as you pat his head.
It's easy to see why Little Guy, a 7-year-old border collie, makes for an ideal audience for new readers or children at the pre-reading stage.
And the Chesterfield Township Library is hoping to find more volunteers like Little Guy who are certified therapy dogs that can participate in the free Paws for Reading program at the library on Patricia Avenue.
It's during those sessions that kids, generally between ages 4 and 8, spend time honing their reading skills with the well-trained, quiet dog.
Best of all? They never correct you
"It's a relaxing way to practice their reading. Even very young children are practicing reading behaviors" like tracing the words from left to right, said Holly Kirsten, head of youth services at the library. "Reading to the dog lowers their blood pressure and calms them. No dog has ever told them they're wrong."
Chesterfield Township resident Dorothy Murmyluk usually brings Little Guy to the library around 4 p.m. Thursdays. She spreads a blanket on the floor and he sits silently, as a polite library guest would. Unlike other children's programs at the library, this one does not require pre-registration.
"They're just crazy over him," Murmyluk said. "He's by far the quietest dog."
Her 8-year-old granddaughter, Breanna Murmyluk, finds comfort in reading to him.
She thinks Paws for Reading can help any child curious about books "because they'll be interested in reading and they can pet the dog, too," she said.
Anyone with a certified therapy dog who is interested in volunteering with Paws for Reading should contact the library at 586-598-4900.