Lottie the golden retriever is a favorite at Southeast Christian Church’s Children’s Library.
Children’s librarian Robyn Cooper brings her therapy dog to the library every Thursday.
“Kids always ask, ‘Is Lottie here?’” Cooper said. “They expect her to come. Even on days when they come and she’s not here, they’re looking for Lottie.”
Though she is just 18 months old, Lottie is an expert at bringing joy to children who visit the library.
“I think that dogs in particular are intended by God to bring comfort to people,” Cooper added. “Her job is to greet kids when they come in, give love, lay there to be petted, get relaxed and allow them to read a book to her.”
Cooper said Lottie sparks great conversations.
“I bring her to draw kids into the library, and she’s a great conversation starter,” she said. “She loves kids the most. She very gently goes over to them and sits. If she’s laying here, she’ll wag her tail and let them come over and rub her belly. Then the kids usually tell me about their dog, how they want a dog, how their dog isn’t as nice as Lottie or how much they love their dog.”
Though Cooper jokes she gets less librarian work done on the days Lottie tags along, she knows that’s OK.
“A librarian’s mindset is, ‘There’s work to do,’ and I’ve got to be able to push that aside and go, ‘It’s really about people,’” Cooper said. “It’s not just all about the books and the condition of the library, but about the patrons and what’s going on in their lives.”
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If Lottie had the choice between “going to the office” with Cooper’s husband or spending time with kids in the library, she’d choose the library every time.
“When I say, ‘We’re going to the library,’ she gets really excited,” Cooper said. “She loves it here. If I’m getting ready in the morning, she follows me everywhere thinking that she’s likely going somewhere.”
Cooper purchased Lottie from a breeder in Ohio when she was 8 weeks old, requesting a mild-tempered dog. She did “do-it-yourself” dog training, though Lottie is still a work in progress.
For example, Lottie has taken a liking to chewing on tissues from the trash.
“She still has a few little habits we have to get out,” Cooper added.
Cooper brought Lottie to her weekly Precept Bible study class studying the book of Revelation.
After the yearlong class completed last month, Precept Leader Joe Keating awarded Lottie with a certificate, which read, “As one of God’s creatures, Lottie accepted the challenge every Thursday morning to welcome, support, entertain and encourage her sisters and brothers in Christ. As a servant of God’s kingdom, she personally welcomed, comforted and allowed all to pet her.”
Cooper’s goal is to have Lottie certified as trained and well-mannered through the Canine Good Citizen program. She hopes to let her visit cancer patients and those in the intensive care unit at hospitals.
Cooper also brought Lottie to her Bible study at a retirement village.
“I would walk her in to get to our class, and their faces would just light up,” Cooper said.