Therapy Dog Helps Children Learn

Former racing greyhound performs tricks, raises spirits of kids and adults

A former racing dog has found new life as a therapy dog after he was diagnosed with lupus.

Audi now performs tricks in front of audiences at libraries, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers around Dallas/Fort Worth.

Irving resident Cheryl Woolnough adopted the greyhound five years ago, when he was 3 years old. She trained with him for a year, and they were certified through Therapy Dog International.

Summer is the busiest time of the year for Audi. He visits three to four places a week, providing a number of services from therapy to simply interacting with children.

“Children love animals, and when you have an animal that is trained and gentle, it can teach them quite a bit," senior librarian Corine Barberena said.

Woolnough said she uses Audi's popularity to send a positive message to his fans.

“I want them to learn about being gentle, about being kind," she said. "But I also want them to love coming to the library. I want them to love reading and stories."

Woolnough said she ultimately hopes more people will learn to find comfort in the presence of man’s best friend.

Kids of all ages are invited to participate at library events, and some adults can also learn a thing or two from Audi.

“I've even had some adults come in, that would come into our children's program, particularly because they are afraid of dogs and they don't want their children to be afraid,” Woolnough said.

Audi's skills also include painting and playing the piano.

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