“Paws to Read” with Adorable Therapy Dogs at Indy Libraries & Bookstores

"Paws to Read" with Adorable Therapy Dogs at Indy Libraries & Bookstores

Research shows that therapy dogs can help to reduce anxiety as well as improve focus and attention span. Therapy dogs serve as a calm presence and allow children (and adults) to work to improve literacy, comprehension, and communication with a nonjudgmental listener.

Paws to Read programs are free and available to all children at several libraries and bookstores throughout Central Indiana on certain nights and weekends. Children can register for a special reading time with a therapy dog who will listen and welcome being petted while the child practices reading a story to them.

“Paws to Read” with Adorable Therapy Dogs at Indy Libraries & Bookstores


Meet Booker

Meet Booker, a Paws & Think therapy dog who volunteers at the Franklin branch of the Johnson County Library. Booker’s dog heaven is actually Paws to Read, a program of parent organization Paws & Think which makes certified therapy dogs available for anyone wanting to practice reading on a non-judgmental ear. These therapy dogs are specially trained family pets who are used in special situations to assist humans. In this case, the dogs are available to read with children or adults who might need extra practice or who just love reading and dogs. Therapy dogs are always with their “handler,” usually their owner, and their work is all volunteer-based.

Paws to Read

Paws to Read programs are held at schools, hospitals, bookstores, and libraries in Central Indiana and offer children an opportunity to practice reading to a Paws & Think therapy dog. To participate in Paws to Read, register online or call the library to choose your time slot. You will have uninterrupted time with a therapy dog and their handler. Most readers are children in elementary school, but the ages of readers can vary greatly. Reading to a therapy dog can help a shy child, an anxious child, a child who needs extra reading practice, or anyone who just wants to spend time with an adorable dog. Dogs are great listeners and enjoy being petted while you read if you can multitask. 

Paws & Think

Paws & Think, the organization behind Paws to Read, is a non-profit organization that strives to offer support for the at-risk population of humans as well as canines. Paws & Think seeks to improve lives through the power of the human-dog connection. Their two-method system involves training therapy animals to participate in animal-assisted therapies for youth, seniors, and individuals with special needs at nursing homes, hospitals, schools, libraries, businesses, events, and in crisis situations.. They also work with at-risk youth and teens to train shelter dogs and learn life skills along the way. Check out the Paws & Think website to find out about the other programs they offer or to become a volunteer!

How to Register for a Library Session

Paws to Read dogs and volunteers can be found at several area public libraries and various branches of the Indianapolis Public Library (see their website for times and locations or contact Paws & Think at 317-520-2729 for times and locations) mostly on nights and weekends.

You can register to participate in Paws to Read visits via each library’s website, by calling the branch, or you can sign up at the library while you’re there cashing in rewards for the summer reading program. Below is the current library visit schedule for Paws to Read.

Paws to Read Library Sessions

Indianapolis Public Library
Times Vary for Each Branch

Brownsburg Public Library
3rd Saturday, 11:00 am-12:00 pm

Carmel Clay Public Library
4th Saturday, 10:30am-11:30am

Westfield Washington Public Library
2nd Saturday, 10:30am-11:30am

Greenwood Public Library
2nd Thursday, 6:00 pm-7:00 pm

Johnson County Public Library – Franklin Branch
Register by calling 317-738-2833 for the Franklin Branch.
3rd Tuesday, 6:30 pm-7:30 pm

Johnson County Public Library – Trafalgar Branch
Register by calling 317-878-9560 for the Trafalgar Branch.
1st Wednesday, 6:00 pm-7:00 pm

Curious Squirrel Bookshop

The Curious Squirrel Bookshop on Main Street in downtown Zionsville hosts a live reading program for children ages 5-12 with Paws & Think dogs. Children may register online through their website for a 15-minute session to practice reading to therapy dogs. Reluctant readers are encouraged to sign up!

Therapy Dogs Around Town

Follow Paws & Think online to see where else their therapy dogs might be headed. Paws & Think dogs and volunteers can be found all over town at various events everyday. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs love being petted. Just make sure you make it a habit to always ask permission first before petting a dog.

If you ever find yourself or someone close to you in the hospital, ask to see if there are therapy dogs that make the rounds. Many hospitals have therapy dogs that visit patients upon request. Therapy dogs also visit retirement homes. Check to see if Paws & Think visits or can visit your loved one!

Stay Connected

If you are interested in setting up a Paws to Read therapy dog program at your venue, please fill out the request form on the Paws & Think website to submit your inquiry for review. The request must come from a representative of the organization or venue requesting the program. If you love dogs and are interested in volunteering with Paws & Think, check out all of the different volunteer opportunities on their website.


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