Critters for Christ
child reading

    The extraordinary BAK-PAK (Books and Kids/Power and Knowledge) reading program uses therapy dogs to help students not only improve reading skills and literacy but also to boost students’ self-esteem. Research shows that children, who are below their peers in reading skills, are often intimidated by reading aloud, often have lower self-esteem, and view reading as a chore. The use of therapy pets reduces stress and other observable signs of anxiety, and students are more willing to interact with an animal than with another person.

    Mary Kegarise is the founder of this program. She has a passion for both animals and literacy. Through her 20-plus years experience as a canine behavior specialist and veterinary technician, she has a keen understanding of animal therapy. Mary has accumulated 16 years experience in animal-assisted therapy and holds a Certificate in Solving Canine Behavior Problems from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is also an experienced AKC Canine Good Citizens Evaluator.

    You and your pet can become involved in this specialized animal-assisted reading program upon completion of several brief training sessions including BAK-PAK Critters Reading Program orientation, screening, and AKC Canine Good Citizens testing. All sessions are conducted by Mary Kegarise. If you have a heart for children and your pet is friendly and well-behaved, quiet and calm, enjoys being around people, and well-groomed, then perhaps the two of you should consider this outreach program. Please contact Mary via e-mail, if you are interested in this program or have questions. email address