Piper Finds Her Special provides a peek inside the mind of a therapy dog as she discovers her special purpose in life while providing a reading program for children. This is a true story about Team Keenan who works with children who have reading challenges. Through the magic of unconditional love, the dog and her owner help children lose their fear and anxieties while reading, and ultimately, increase their reading skills and comprehension. This book describes how reading programs with a therapy animal can improve confidence, grammar, and overall scholastic ability. Therapy animals provide a calming and nurturing atmosphere, which is effective in treating PTSD, depression, stress, and other anxiety disorders. Studies have shown the negative impact our current realities have on mental health and well-being, but the calming, loving and charismatic nature of reading to a dog improves mood, environment, and reading fluency.
Alison is a Registered Nurse living in Tennessee. Following her struggle with a rare blood disease and her dog’s diagnosis of kidney disease, she made plans to work with her Golden Retriever, Piper, to become a registered therapy dog. Both Alison and her dog learned from their medical challenges to turn their adversities into blessings by giving back to their community. They completed specialized training so they can provide support through a program called READingPaws®. Together they visit schools, libraries, and other reading programs to help students improve their reading skills and comprehension. They also visit local hospitals, clinics, support groups, and programs to provide emotional support and companionship. Alison is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Nursing. She enjoys playing the bagpipes and sings in her church choir. She participates in prison ministry to incarcerated women in Tennessee. In her spare time, she enjoys scuba diving with her husband.