When 9-year-old Izzabell Smith arrived for Paws to Read, she expected to read to a dog.

Thus, she chose “Dog Man, Brawl of the Wild” as her book to read to the canine.

However, when treasurer of Therapy Animals of San Antonio Bev Oakes arrived, she had a Maine coon mix feline in her arms instead.

 “I like cats,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Will the cat hiss at the book?’”

Izzabal’s book was still purrfect. 

Whitney Hasler, youth service librarian at New Braunfels Public Library, said she was told the cat was more like a dog.

Hasler had taken over the PTR back in January, and she said it is a hit with families.

“Depending on how many animals are here, we sometimes get 1 to 3 animals at time, and each child gets five to ten minutes to hang out,” Hasler said.

New Braunfels resident Adrienne Rector said she and her family have been to PTR the past couple of summers.

“The kids seem to really enjoy it,” Rector said. “They like the pets and being close with them.”

New Braunfels resident Rocio Bailey said this was her first time at the library, but would like to come more often. They have a dog at home, to which her daughter Catalina, 7, reads to. 

“Mostly, she reads in her mind, but it helps them with their ability, even to pronounce words,” Bailey said.

Izzabell’s father, Sam, said they visit the library often whenever they have events going on.

He also studied literature in college.

“I think (reading) is very important,” Sam said. “It builds confidence, so this is a good thing.”

According to ReadingRockets.org, reading aloud allows kids to connect with the character with their own life experiences, as well as universal concepts.

It also exposes them to new vocabulary, helps them understand how stories work, and builds their curiosity and memory.

The next Paws to read will be held on Friday, July 19 in the ESL Room at the Westside Community Center, at 3:30 p.m. 

For more information, contact Hasler at whasler@nbtexas.org.


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