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on August 03, 2013 10:50 AM

Indiana Free Library has gone to the dogs, but not without good reason.

The library’s Read to a Dog program pairs kid and canine to help young readers practice literacy skills.

At a typical event, several area dogs and owners — all members of Therapy Dog International — visit the Indiana library.

Children read aloud to the dogs while their owners look on.

“It’s reading in a relaxed environment,” said Cheri Finotti. The White Township resident and her black Lab, Emma, are part of the program.

Children’s librarian Joanne Mast brought the program in several years ago.

“I’m a dog lover, and I met the group at a children’s event and talked to them about coming to the library,” she said. “They were very excited about it.”

Apparently, dogs can be man’s best friend in more ways than one. Shy or nervous children can feel more comfortable when reading to dogs, Mast said.

Be they Labs, collies or Maltese breeds, the therapy dogs all share some things in common: They are specially trained, nonaggressive and up-to-date on shots.

And, Mast said, “They all have wonderful personalities.”

The last Read to a Dog program of the summer will take place between 10 a.m. and noon Aug. 10 in the children’s department of the library.

The next series of programs begins in spring 2014.

For more information, call (724) 465-8841 or visit 

— Julie E. Martin


Looking for something to do this weekend? Walnut Hill Winery in Burrell Township hosts bands on Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m. at its location on 638 Turner Drive.

Today, the winery will be hosting The Buddy Mac Band, classic rock ’n’ roll from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and what they call “dance music and songs you know and like,” on their Facebook page.

A $4 per person cover charge helps support local animal shelters Action for Animals, Latrobe, and Four Footed Friends, Indiana.

No off-site alcohol is permitted at the events, but frozen sangrias will be available. The Walnut Hill Winery website encourages those attending not to forget their lawn chairs and wine glasses.

In addition, Pampered Pink Catering, also housed at the winery, will have items like hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst and others for sale at the event.

Bands that have performed throughout the summer include Sugar Mountain, Hiram and the Walkers, The Cash Review and more.

— Ellen Matis

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