For kids lacking confidence, particularly in social situations, therapy dogs can help.
That was the focus of a presntation Saturday at the Fairfield Public Library by Don Smith, the area representative for the International R.E.A.D. program and former director of the animal-assisted therapy program "Healing Hounds" at Stamford Hospital.
Smith showed off Brasil, a friendly whippet that is used to encourage children in one-on-one reading sessions. Youngsters, who may have self-esteem issues, read to the dog, which helps to boost their comfort levels with reading aloud. That confidence, in turn, can help them deal with larger social settings.
Brasil has been featured on Diane Sawyer's ABC News boradcast and also received national recognition as a "Therapy Dog of the Year."