LISBON - Two greyhounds who were born to race in Texas are now living as therapy dogs. Piper, 9, and Amber, 4, spent a morning last week with their owners, Karen and Doug Miller, at the Lepper Library, allowing kids to read to them.
It was the first time therapy dogs have visited the library and children's librarian Bridget Cook said they will be coming back.
"It gets the kids used to reading in public or a mixed group," she said.
Parker Hartley (front) pets Amber, while Summer Goodwin pets Piper during a reading event at the Lepper Library Tuesday. The therapy dogs are owned by Karen and Doug Miller and were formerly race dogs. (Photo by Katie Schwendeman)
The children who met the dogs this week were mostly from the Lisbon Montessori Preschool, although some others were brought by their relatives.
"These dogs love this," Karen Miller said.
Piper and Amber are the third and fourth greyhounds to be owned by the Millers, who get them through the Ohio Greyhound Gathering and Adoption (OGGA) group. The non-profit volunteer group is based in Canton and functions on donations for the purpose of rescuing greyhounds from racing tracks and placing them in homes.
The Millers live in Alliance and their first OGGA dogs were Sassy, who died from cancer at the age of 4, and Little Train, who lived to nearly 16 years old before passing. They also were therapy dogs, although Sassy was more timid, Karen Miller said.
Most of the OGGA dogs come from Wheeling, W.Va., she added.
She said it is the greyhounds' gentle demeanor and the fact that they barely bark that makes them so appealing to have as pets.
During the reading the dogs laid still or stood while they allowed the children to pet them and even cuddle briefly, and none of the children were afraid of the animals.
In order to be used as therapy dogs the greyhounds must complete monthly training at their local hospital, Karen Miller said.
Piper has been a therapy dog the last five years and "is a pro at it," while Amber began therapy work this February, she added.
Children were allowed to ask the Millers questions during the reading event. Cook also read to the children and taught them about greyhounds. The dogs will return to the library at 10:30 a.m. May 17. And Cook said more will probably be scheduled in June.
Those who plan on attending should notify the library at 330-424-3117.