Dogs help Fayette County students read

In recent months we have seen how therapy dogs can help in many different ways.

From helping children at Sandy Hook Elementary deal with tragedy to helping UK college students manage stress during finals.

Here in Fayette County therapy dogs are taking on a whole new role in schools, where you could say reading has literally gone to the dogs!

Its library time at Booker T. Washington Academy in Lexington.

Students file in and pick a good book to read out loud.

In reading out loud, the students are building an important skill.

"Its like when you have a book report, you talk about it to your class, it gives you confidence," said 4th grader Kourtesy Lee.

The student's audience is one that doesn't talk back and is all ears!

"I read the book report to The Black Lagoon, I think he liked it because he licked my hand," said Amari Allen.

On a monthly basis dogs like Buca and Jack report to school as part of the Love on a Leash program.

"We take them into nursing homes, elementary schools, we do kid safety programs with them," said Bonnie Cessna, founder of the Lexington chapter of Love on a Leash.

Cessna helped start the Lexington Chapter of Love on a Leash last July.

Cessna's dog Buca is a trained pet therapy dog.

His mission when in school, motivating students to read.

While Buca and Jack may not understand the stories being read to them, its their listening ear that means the most to the students.

"My favorite part about reading to these dogs is when I read they can't correct me," said Kortney Lee, a 4th grade student.

Its an invaluable lesson, one that has a strong impact in the classroom.

"It has been proven through the educational system that children's grades can be improved through working with therapy dogs through the read programs," said Cessna.

For a treat or to be petted, dogs like Buca and Jack will listen all day long, all the while putting their paw print on these students educational success.

Buca is also a very special dog, he has earned two Canine Olympic medals.

For more information on Love on a Leash or getting your dog trained just email Bonnie Cessna at

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