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News Item

Bogie and Marshall set to retire

January 29, 2018

Students reading to Bogie the reading dog

One of ALCDSB's best teachers is about to retire this year, but it's not a human teacher.

Meet Bogie, a labradoodle that has been reading with students for the past nine years.

Bogie is a St. John Ambulance child therapy dog and loves reading with children.

Bogie and his owner, Roberte Keirstead started their "teaching career" nine years ago at Ecole Catholique Cathedral.

Since then, they have moved to St. John XXIII and shortly after, Bogie's brother Marshall joined the team.

Marshal, Bogie and Roberte have been volunteering weekly (every Monday and Friday) to read with Grades 1 and 2 students.

The partnership began when Principal David Dodge introduced the idea to his school community and that's when the partnership flourished. Bogie and Marhsall began reading with students who had difficulty reading aloud; a safe, non-judgemental space was provided while students had the opportunity to read aloud to the dogs. Not only was reading aloud to the dogs therapeutic, but also lowers anxiety and relaxes the children.


This partnership has grown over the years and now all students have the opportunity to read with Marshall and Bogie, regardless of their reading level.


Each week students are called down to the reading room, with a matt on the floor. They pick their favourite book and sit with either Marshall or Bogie and Roberte and read. Marshall and Bogie are both quick to join on the matt and listen to the story. 


Ask any student at St. John XXIII and the highlight of their week is having Bogie and Marshall come to be read to. 

Students say their reading has improved because they practice with the dogs.


In 2017, the St. John XXIII community dedicated their buddy bench to Roberete, Marshall and Bogie for their dedication to the school.


It is evident that Roberte and her dogs truly are part of the St. John XXIII school community, participating in spirit weeks, halloween and other colour specific days.


After a nine year partnership, Roberte, Marshall and Bogie will be retiring but Roberte says she has other ideas to work with dogs and children. 


Thank you to Roberte, Marshall and Bogie for your dedication to the St. John XXIII Catholic School community. 

Student reading to Bogie the therapy dog

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