Reading Retriever Is a Dog of Few Words

Teacher's pet inspires students at Ft. Pierce school

By Brian Hamacher
|  Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009  |  Updated 1:20 PM EDT
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Animals in the News

AP

A Fort Pierce teacher has taught his golden retriever to read.

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Reading Dog a Teacher's Pet

Abigail the golden retriever has been hitting the books hard so she can inspire special needs students to do their homework.
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Students having a ruff time reading have a new helper, and rather than eat their homework she's here to help with it.

Abigail the golden retriever has been hitting the books hard to provide a good example for the kids at Dan McCarty Middle School in Fort Pierce.

Abigail already knows how to read eight distinct terms, and her word power is proving to special needs students that anything is possible.

"That’s my hope - that the kids will become more motivated, more interested in reading because having this dog that can read has got to be motivating," Abigail's owner Dan Galloway told WPTV.

Galloway has been bringing Abigail to class with him for years as a way of helping students to interact with a dog. The kids learn to walk her and teach her to sit, roll over and jump in their laps.

Along the way, Galloway even taught her to read the words, which include "sit," "get," "down," "drop" and "roll."

"It's like sight reading, she's memorizing the shape of the word. She's already learned the behavior," Galloway said.

Other teachers can't believe what a positive influence Abigail is having on the students.

"It's done miracles for my kids, truly," said teacher Cathy Lewis. "When they're working with Abigail, it's just like a total personality change."

Galloway knows his teacher's pet is in a class by herself.

"I think we know that there's something magic that takes place," he said.

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