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Therapy Dogs Help Children’s Reading Skills

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Sandi Martin, RN, always wanted a dog. But as the director of intensive care at a Salt Lake City hospital, she had a demanding job with unpredictable hours. In her spare time, she also lectured at specialist discussions on critical care and ethics. It was the job or a dog.

Martin chose a dog.


In 1999 she resigned from her hospital job and took a position on a community outreach program with a less stressful work schedule. She cut down her presentations and bought a house. Then she started looking for a dog.

On one of her weekend trips, she went to the Salt Lake County animal shelter. She hadn’t planned on adopting a puppy, but when she saw a playful little Portuguese water dog with big feet, a big head, and a tail that bent over her back, Martin fell in love with him. The puppy, who had been at the shelter for 10 days, was to be euthanized the following Monday. Martin took her home and named her Olivia.



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