Meet Southport’s newest therapy dog. Picture: Jerad Williams
Meet Southport’s newest therapy dog. Picture: Jerad Williams

Meet pup teaching kids to read

MORE than a year after the community raised money so she could walk again, Arlo the puppy is giving back.

The inspiring English staffy has regained her mobility and is helping children to get back on their feet, too.

For the past four months, Arlo has sat patiently while students at Southport State High School on the Gold Coast read to her through the Share Reading Dogs program, run by Animal Welfare League Queensland.

Arlo with 8S students, Zakeira Chatfielz, 13, and Zane Giles, 13. Picture: Jerad Williams
Arlo with 8S students, Zakeira Chatfielz, 13, and Zane Giles, 13. Picture: Jerad Williams

Foster carer turned owner Megan Payette said the 18-month-old's presence helped increase children's confidence to read aloud in front of small groups.

Arlo could only walk with great difficulty when she first arrived as a pup late 2016. Photo: Steve Holland
Arlo could only walk with great difficulty when she first arrived as a pup late 2016. Photo: Steve Holland

Ms Payette said Arlo became a qualified therapy dog after taking a five-day intensive course last year with Therapy Dogs Australia.

Ms Payette said she wanted to give something back to the community after residents rallied to save Arlo early last year following her arrival at the AWLQ with a parasitic condition, neosporosis.

AWLQ staff started "Operation Get Arlo Walking". It included treatments such as hydrotherapy, courses of antibiotics and a spinal tap.

Arlo could only walk with great difficulty when she first arrived as a pup late 2016. Photo: Steve Holland
Arlo could only walk with great difficulty when she first arrived as a pup late 2016. Photo: Steve Holland

More than 100 people donated $3000 in less a day to help her walk again because her back legs had given out.

"We did a whole year of physio and hydrotherapy once a week and home exercises," she said.

"She doesn't feel any pain, she still has a funny walk and will never be perfect, but she (waddles)."

Arlo now listens to children of two classes each week, but Ms Payette has even bigger plans.

She said they would eventually like to go to aged-care homes or work with veterans and those suffering PTSD.

Her calm demeanour and non-judgmental attitude mean kids are comfortable reading out their English work. Arlo with 8S students, Helen Tapatuetoa, 12, Zakeira Chatfielz, 13, Dana Fisher, 13, Kai Maynard, 12, Harley Hansell, 13, and Zane Giles, 13. Picture: Jerad Williams
Her calm demeanour and non-judgmental attitude mean kids are comfortable reading out their English work. Arlo with 8S students, Helen Tapatuetoa, 12, Zakeira Chatfielz, 13, Dana Fisher, 13, Kai Maynard, 12, Harley Hansell, 13, and Zane Giles, 13. Picture: Jerad Williams

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