The tiny black-and-brown dog rolled on its side, lifting her paws up and welcoming the gentle petting from the child sitting across from her.
Dulce, an 8-year-old chihuahua, settled into the blanket and listened to the story being read. Her owner, Natalie Hinton-Jennings, a Seymour native, sat next to her.
There was none of the yipping or nervous energy chihuahua’s are known to display. All was calm.
“We call her ‘the anti-chihuahua,'” Hinton-Jennings said. “She’s very laid-back, very smart. She’s the Garfield of dogs — happy when it’s mealtime and naptime.”
Every month, Hinton-Jennings and Dulce come to the Clark Pleasant branch of the Johnson County Public Library to help children with their reading. The Woofs and Books program uses the soothing nature of petting and playing with a dog to increase focus, making reading enjoyable and easier.
“We’ve found that it really helps to encourage literacy being with the animals,” Hinton-Jennings said. “We want to encourage the love of reading, or if kids are struggling, giving them a non-judgmental audience to read to a dog.”
For volunteering their time, Hinton-Jennings and Dulce were chosen to help represent Johnson County on Friday in the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay.
Read the full story in Friday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.