Note to readers: The “South Side Achiever” feature about Linda Green of The Newland Center, as published in the November issue of The Stand, includes an error as well as information that should be clarified. The error has to do with the origin of the R.E.A.D. program; the other information has to do with “therapy pets” used in the program. This Letter to the Editor explains the issues; it was edited for space.
I am the current President as well as a co-founder of Pet Partners of Syracuse. Pet Partners is a non-profit affiliate of Delta Society. Our organization promotes and believes in the enrichment and enhancement of lives through the human-animal bond. This is done through Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy.
One of the programs we also participate in is R.E.A.D. This is a program started by the Intermountain Therapy Animals in Salt Lake City, Utah. R.E.A.D. was not created by Linda Green. After visiting our information table about our organization and R.E.A.D. one evening at PetCo, Linda Green approached me about bringing one or more of our dogs into the center to be part of a weekly book club. As is required when starting a program in a facility with a therapy pet, the initial visit is done without our dogs. There was no dog odor and the place is very clean. We have never experienced any odors that “permeate the old house.” If we ever did, we would not be bringing our dogs there. Strong odors distract them from their purpose. … Also … the mission of the R.E.A.D. program is to improve the literacy skills of children through the assistance of registered therapy teams as literacy mentors. I can tell you that this has been a very positive experience and as volunteers we are not expected to commit to 4-6 hours per week as stated in the article.
Pet Partners of Syracuse
Making Life Better — Together