CPT Trained Dog Featured in Knoxville Newspaper

Donna Silvey and her CPT-trained Katrina rescue dog, Boudreaux, were featured today in the Knoxville News Sentinel for their participation as a key therapy dog/handler team within the Ruff Reading Program that serves the Knoxville public school system. Ruff Reading was developed in 2001 by the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine as part of their Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) program. From its inception 8 years ago, the program has expanded to where it services 64 classrooms within 32 East Tennessee schools. The goal of Ruff Reading is to increase each participating student’s enthusiasm for reading while concurrently enhancing social communication skills, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Evaluations have demonstrated that Ruff Reading students achieve a definitive improvement in reading ability.

Donna first brought Boudreaux to CPT after she adopted him into her home as a Katrina rescue. Initially, Boudreaux was warm-hearted, but rambunctious and out of control, which often frustrated Donna. However, after completing Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Obedience with CPT, Donna was better able to constructively channel Boudreaux’s energy and better able to enjoy his company. Donna started to observe vast potential in Boudreaux as a companion and a working animal. After completing the Advanced Class, Boudreaux became Donna’s off-leash hiking partner. She enjoyed him alongside as she took her regular hikes through the Georgia mountains and various sylvan Atlanta parks. She next, enrolled Boudreaux in agility, where he graduated through the Competition level.

Two years ago, Donna relocated to Knoxville. She continued to take Boudreaux on regular hikes. However, she also wanted to find new constructive ways to apply his training. Ruff Reading was a perfect fit.

Donna believes her experience as a CPT obedience and agility student was invaluable in preparing both her and Boudreaux for their roles in Ruff Reading. According to Donna, “the outcome of a well-trained dog is a dog that can reach his full potential and accomplish amazing results- even if they arrive with humble beginnings.”

“I appreciate the way you do training because I don’t have to yell at Boudreaux to get him to comply. This is important. Some of these children have come from very frightening situations. Usually Boudreaux lays on his belly and faces the kids while they read. Sometimes he lays beside them and will put his paw on their arm as they read. It makes them think he really understands the books. Many will turn the book around to show him the pictures before turning the page. It completely changes their attitudes toward reading. Most do not have homes were anyone sits down and works with them. Having their own special time with Boudreaux encourages them to work hard on their own to get good at reading for Boudreaux. With all of our glorious government programs that cost a fortune and do nothing to improve education…we’re free and we get results!”

Those wishing to read the article and observe a photograph of Boudreaux with a Ruff Reading child, can click the following link: www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/nov/03/readings-not-so-ruff

For more information about CPT’s expert witness services, please review our website (www.cpt-training.com) or contact the CPT office by phone at 770-396-6433.

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