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Bradley students get a furry reading buddy

Bradley Middle School librarian Regan Sanchez has had a passion for reading since childhood, so it is only natural that her goal is to see her students grow that same love for reading. In her first year at Bradley she has welcomed Gus and Hailey, two golden retrievers from the PAWS for Service program to act as reading buddies.

“The first thing I notice is the smiles,” said Sanchez. “Instantly the kids walk in and are so excited to read. Many students that I never saw visiting the library without their class were all of a sudden coming to read and picking out books with smiles on their face.”

Bernie Barnes from PAWS for Service is a retired school teacher who saw something special in her two dogs Gus and Hailey. The dogs went through an eight-week program that taught basic skills such as going in and out of elevators, going up and down stairs, being around hospital equipment and even leaving food on the floor if they happen to stumble upon some crumbs.

“There were kids that would walk down the hall with their heads down, and really just lacked the confidence to believe in themselves,” said Barnes. “But when they read to Gus and Hailey the pressure is off. They know that they are not going to be judged and are able to relax. I have watched a child that after three months of reading with Gus started walking with his head up and had a whole new confidence.” 

PAWS for Service started in 1995 as a small outreach program and has become San Antonio’s premier therapy dog organization. You can learn more about the program at

Gus the dog reading with children

Gus and students

Regan Sanches the Bradley Librarian

Students reading