CHOCOLATE Labrador Buddy is looking for companions to help him improve literacy rates across the Redlands.
Buddy travels to schools around the Redlands with his owner Amanda Farrell as a part of the Story Dogs organisation, listening to children read to improve their confidence and literacy skills.
Story Dogs Cleveland co-ordinator Ms Farrell said the outcomes she had witnessed as a part of the organisation had been amazing.
“It is a non-judgmental setting, the children's focus improves, their literacy skills increase and their confidence soars,” she said.
“The loving nature of dogs gives this program its magic and helps children relax, open up, try harder and have fun while reading to a friendly, calm dog.
“Schools tell us that reading ability improves as well as behaviour and confidence in almost all the students.”
Across Australia, Story Dogs visit more than 2000 students in 234 schools.
Ms Farrell said the Redlands team had grown rapidly over the past year.
“The Redlands team has more than doubled from three to eight volunteers in less than a year, so I would love to see at least this rate of growth (continue) in 2019.
“Twenty dog teams in the Redlands would be awesome,” she said.
“The ambition of Story Dogs is to have a dog team in every primary school in Australia and although that is a long-term goal there is no reason for this to be unachievable.”
Redlands Story Dogs teams currently visit Ormiston State School, Thornlands State School, Birkdale South State School and Redland District Special School.
Ms Farrell said volunteers needed to be reliable and able to commit to at least four school terms for a consistent weekly two hour block, with friendly, calm dogs who could settle well and were great with people.
All types of dogs, except for restricted dog breeds, are eligible to become part of Story Dogs.
For more information or to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.