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Congratulations to Humphrey!

Humphrey and Cynthia Power win the Outstanding Volunteer Award!

Cynthia Power, Humphrey and J. Walter Tejada, Chairman of Arlington County Board

Cynthia Power, Humphrey and J. Walter Tejada, Chairman of Arlington County Board

Paws-to-Read has very successfully brought a love of reading to many children in our area, and would not be possible without Humphrey and Cynthia.  

Paws-to-Read is offered throughout each month, at six library locations.

Humphrey and Cynthia with Arlington Public Library staff: Karen, Katherine, and Desiree

Humphrey and Cynthia with Arlington Public Library staff: Karen, Katherine, and Desiree


After the Award Ceremony, I had a chance to interview Humphrey about his amazing accomplishment.

KAREN: How does it feel to win Arlington County’s Outstanding Volunteer Award?

HUMPHREY: I am VERY honored to be given an outstanding volunteer award by Arlington County. It was pretty great to go to the award ceremony and meet the Chairman of the County Board. He is very nice. He gave my Mom a special plaque and a pin – which she likes very much. He didn’t have any dog treats though. So, I was most happy that my friends at the Library also came to the ceremony and brought me a special reward of tasty dog cookies!

KAREN: How did you celebrate?

HUMPHREY: A lot of my human friends came to see us get the award. Then we went out to a restaurant for a party! It was great because I could be on the patio with all the people and my dog friend, Watson. He and I got a few tastes of bacon too!

KAREN: Why do you volunteer?

HUMPHREY: It is pretty fun to go to the library when you are a dog! It is a special privilege for me. I get to listen to children reading great stories. I also really like it when the children pet me while they are reading. My Mom says that the children become better readers when they read aloud and a lot. I can tell that is true. Some of my friends have been coming to read to me for almost a year, and every time they come, their voices are stronger and they make fun sounds too.

KAREN: How did you get started with Paws to Read?

HUMPHREY: It all started when I wanted to be a therapy dog to visit people and have them pet me. There were only a few places around Arlington to visit and I wanted to do more. My Mom found out about other programs where children read to dogs and she talked to the Arlington Libraries about it. Everybody liked the idea. So we got started. The nicest thing is listening to the children’s good reading voices. I really like it when they make the characters sound different.

KAREN: What’s your favorite thing to do?

HUMPHREY: Well, of course, going to the library to listen to stories is pretty great. But I also like to play catch-the-ball a lot. I have perfected a few catch-in-the-air moves. Now that it is getting warmer there will be more ball playing and maybe I can go swimming in the pool too! I also like going to the beach and watching movies with dogs in them at home.

KAREN: What’s your favorite snack?

HUMPHREY: I am pretty fond of almost all dog cookies – especially the kind from the dog bakery. But my favorite treat is the very first human food I every tried – Blue Cheese! It all started with just a little mistake on my part. You see, my Dad had a salad with blue cheese dressing on it and he left it on the table for a few minutes, so I thought I would see what he liked to eat and took just a little taste. It was delicious! Now I know I am not allowed to take food from the table. I just forgot that one time. My humans must have forgiven me because I sometimes get just a tiny piece of blue cheese when I am being especially good.

KAREN: Do you have a book recommendation?

HUMPHREY: Have you seen all the books at the library??? There must be a million of them! I like it when I get to hear new stories and I like it when I hear the same story again. I guess my favorite stories are one’s with dogs in them like the Biscuit and Marley books. Of course, my very favorite one is about a dog that learns to read. It is called, How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills. You should check it out!

Thanks for all of your help with Paws-to-Read, Humphrey!


Paws-to-Read is a partnership between the Library and PAL (People Animals Love), a local animal therapy organization. You can learn more about why reading to dogs helps children become better readers from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.


Comments (3)

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  1. Eleonore Sullivan says:

    What an awesome program for the children of the community! Congratulations to Humphrey, Cynthia Power and the Arlington Library staff for their
    creative vision in implementing such a fun and educational program.Thank you Karen for your insightful and fun interview with Humphrey.
    I really enjoyed reading it!
    Gotta go. Running off to the library to pick up one of Humphrey’s suggested books. Woof. Woof.

  2. [...] The program began in 2011 after Ashlawn Elementary School teacher Cynthia Power pitched it to library staff as a way to encourage kids to read. It has since expanded to six library locations and has earned Power (and her dog, Humphrey) an Outstanding Volunteer Award. [...]

  3. Bad Mommy says:

    We love Humphrey! And we are so grateful to Cynthia for all her hard work for a wonderful program that has really enriched our reading lives! Thank you both!

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