LAKE VILLA – Area children were in for a special treat April 19 during Animal Hospital of Lake Villa's Therapy Reading event. Officer Terry Kaminski and his four-legged sidekicks K-9 Officer Nadja and K-9 Officer Star visited the animal hospital, at 101 S. Milwaukee Ave., to encourage local children to practice their reading skills.
Kaminski and the pups volunteer their time to public entities as members of Seldin Security Special Operations K-9 Division.
Maria Pirita, client coordinator for the hospital, said, "This was such a sweet event because it really encouraged kids to read out loud, and it even helped some of the shy readers come out of their shells."
To demonstrate the dogs' ability to locate missing persons or objects, one child was asked to hide and was then discovered by the security dogs. Kaminski demonstrated various tricks security dogs are asked to do in the field as well. Pirita said the event helped children learn to feel safe around officers and K-9 units.
Paula Casey, grandmother to attendee Isabella Jasper, said, "It is a great way to teach the children to not fear or run away from the K-9 officers."
Kaminski also stressed that it is not OK to pet a German shepherd without asking for permission.
Children also got to hunt for eggs where they could win candy, golden dollar coins and heartworm/flea and tick prevention for their pets.
Marilyn McLin, office manager, said, "We're glad the kids enjoyed themselves. It was a great experience."
The animal hospital's next public event is "A Day with the Dogs" on May 31.
The event will feature music, food, face painting and a raffle. The event is free, but attendees can pledge $25 to receive a T-shirt, food, raffle tickets and a walk through the park.
To learn about Animal Hospital of Lake Villa, call 847-356-8387 or visit www.lakevillavet.com.