After hearing about Jackson’s
reading therapy dog program, Pinedale
Children’s Librarian Michelle Humber decided
to test the waters and see if a local dog
owner might volunteer time to create the same
Humber learned that the Teton County Library’s
reading therapy dogs were part of the
Pet Partners community program and hoped to
find a team that might go through the courses
required to become a certified therapy dog and
“It helps the kids be more comfortable
reading, especially if they are reluctant readers,”
Enter Peggy Weber and her 8-year-old border
Rosie and her young littermates were literally
rescued from a hard life outdoors just
before their owner was going to shoot them.
A neighbor grabbed them and brought them to
the Animal Care Clinic, where Weber met and
fell in love with the 6-month-old pup.
“I rescued her and she rescued me,” said
Weber, who grew up in California’s Bay Area
and has lived in Pinedale for at least 45 years.
She is retired from Public Health nursing,
Remi Kelly gets help with a new word from handler Peggy Weber while Rosie,
the patient therapy dog, listens.
Joy Ufford photos
Evie, left, and Ella Curry read to the Rosie the therapy dog and handler Peggy Weber during a session at the Pinedale Library.
where she worked with “baby sister” Annie
Weber and Rosie have always been
very active, traveling and going many
“She’s a working dog that needs to be
busy,” she said of her very friendly and very
smart companion. “She has always been very
healthy and just a good dog.”
Last spring, when Weber heard about
Humber’s search for a reading therapy dog,
she considered volunteering herself and Rosie.
“I was interested in doing that because
Rosie likes kids and she is really smart,”
Weber said. “She is so smart; she needs to use
Another sister, Pat Hull, has trained service
dogs for many years and encouraged her to
check out the Pet Partners program.
Pet Partners is a nationwide standardized
training program that helps animal owners
first determine if their pets might make good
therapy animals – which might be parrots,
rabbits, guinea pigs, llamas, alpacas, horses
or mini-horses, even cats – but most are dogs.
The goal is to train animal and handler
teams to be comfortable and calm with all
kinds of people and situations. Pet Partners offers
certifications on a number of levels, from
going to libraries, nursing homes and hospitals
to crisis and disaster support to helping
veterans and Alzheimer’s patients.
Weber remembers a therapy dog visiting
while she was in the hospital and how much
it meant to her.
“I want people to see that most dogs have
talents one way or another and encourage
someone else to have their dogs be therapy
Weber contacted Teton County Pet Partners
to see if being a therapy team was a
good fit for her and Rosie. Once committed,
she took seven online courses that emphasize
“handler” training over pet training and then
took a dog handler course in Jackson.
The neighborhood kids also helped Rosie
prepare by walking her, playing with her and
reading to her in the yard all summer. Both
Rosie and Weber need to be confident and
consistent during their one-hour sessions with
Peggy Weber and Rosie the
reading therapy dog come to
the Pinedale Library Children’s
Reading Room on Mondays,
11 a.m. to noon, and Thursdays,
4 to 5 p.m., when the
library is open. Sign up for a
15-minute reading time there
or call 307-367-4114.
For the course, Rosie had a veterinarian’s
health checkup and Weber, a background
check. They passed with flying colors. Rosie
is groomed and her nails trimmed before each
At their debut Thursday, Nov. 7, the two
went into the Children’s Reading Room with
its colorful rug and posters to await kids that
signed up to read aloud.
Rosie greeted each youngster enthusiastically
and Weber perched on a small chair
while young readers shared their books with
Rosie. Weber helped out with the occasional
word and marveled at the kids’ ability to read.
It was a new experience that Weber is going
to modify only slightly – “I think I’ll sit on the
floor too next time.”
“I’m learning and Rosie is learning,” Weber
said of the experience. “We’re just excited –
life is about doing service for people. I don’t
know if I have a gift but Rosie has a gift.”
Their Pet Partners certification and Rosie’s
new badge let them go to libraries, airports,
hospitals, assisted living, nursing homes and
even school if a student is stressed about taking
a test and needs some cuddly support.
Watching the kids relate to Rosie and her to
them really meant a lot to Weber. “It was so
joyful to hear them read to her. It was a pure