The K9 Reading Buddies of the North Shore gave the USO Center at Naval Station Great Lakes a warm, fuzzy Valentine’s Day feeling.
The K9 program, which provides dogs to help children in the first through fifth grade read, brought nine of its volunteer dogs of all sizes for sailors to pet. The event, dubbed Puppy Love, attracted a big Friday evening crowd. Sailors in attendance also received Valentine cards from students at Red Oak Elementary School in Highland Park.
“You see that a lot of sailors are having a good time,” said Carole Yuster, founder and executive director of the K9 organization. “Many of them probably have pets that they miss so they are having a good time.”
The well-behaved dogs enjoyed the affection being shown to them.
The idea started when Yuster and a number of her dogs met a number of sailors at the Highwood for the Holidays event in December. After the success of Friday’s event, Yuster said it is likely the K9 Reading Buddies will return to the USO on at least another occasion or two.
Meanwhile, Chris Miller, executive director of the USO Center Great Lakes, also believes it is nice to offer sailors an out-of-the-ordinary program.
“You can see that everyone is having a good time,” he said. “ You see a lot of the sailors here are women, too. That means this is something that all sailors are interested in.”