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Dolly The Reading Dog: A Glimpse of a Service Dog and Her Job

Dolly The Reading Dog: A Glimpse of a Service Dog and Her Job

This article was submitted by Leti Segura from Roth Elementary.

Reading Dogs are becoming more prevalent in schools. We’ve seen them on social media bringing comfort to students in Klein and around the globe. Their benefits are invaluable, and honestly, who wouldn’t want to cuddle up with a precious pup and read a good book?  

Here at Roth Elementary, we have had the privilege of working with a Reading Dog named Dolly and her owner Dee Goff for the last 4 ½  years. Dolly is a fixture on our campus, and rightfully so. Dolly spends at least two days a week at Roth, sometimes three if testing and school events get in the way of her student schedule.  She reads with EVERY kindergartener on campus by the end of the year, has a student list of 10-15 students per semester, and a separate list of students who need emotional support, or just those who need a boost of confidence.  Dolly also visits classrooms to model behaviors like patience as she sits and listens to stories being read aloud by the teacher. As she walks down the hallway, Dolly’s presence is just the cherry on top for students and teachers alike. Dolly has a spot in our yearbook, has participated in our Character Parade, and even has her own office at school! She is our campus celebrity!

Dee Goff (left) and Susan Langlois (right)

Dolly has shown love and patience to countless students at Roth.  She loves her students, and her students love her in return. But life wasn’t always beautiful for Dolly.  Dee Goff, her owner, handler and volunteer manager (who is also an amazing Klein substitute, school volunteer and friend) rescued Dolly from a horrible home life situation.  Yes, Dolly is a rescue dog. Once upon a time, this well-trained dog was a wild thing who knew no boundaries. Life changed for Dolly at the time of her rescue and also when Roth school administration approached Dee Goff about starting a reading dog program.  Dolly and Dee both had to undergo several stages of training. Dolly was trained by a trainer for stubborn dogs, and the trainer had to teach Mrs. Goff how to be a handler as well. She underwent Good Citizen Dog Training, Reading Dog Training, and has also completed Therapy/Comfort Dog training.  She’s highly certified! 

Now, if this story couldn’t get any better, our campus celebrity is now a real celebrity because local author, Susan Langlois, has written a picture book inspired by Dolly the Reading Dog titled Dolly Does Her Job.  Susan visited Roth Elementary in 2018 as a retired teacher interested in learning more about the Great Expectations program and Dolly our Reading Dog.  She was so impressed with seeing Dolly in action that she crafted her book Dolly Does Her Job and recently released the book on Amazon in January of 2020.  On January 24, 2020, Susan Langlois visited our school to share Dolly Does Her Job with the entire school.  She touched on how Dolly “just knew” what to do with her students and focused on the theme of how “Love changes everything.”  At the end of each visit, Dolly made a guest appearance and took questions from the audience. It was a very special day! For more information on Susan, please her website.

Dee Goff and Dolly ensure the vision of our district, that every child enters with a promise and exits with a purpose, through their volunteer efforts to create an environment that is safe and enjoyable for all students.  Dolly is a symbol of patience, love, and service, and we are excited to share her story with you. For more information on Dolly’s visit and story, see this video.

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