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WebClawer: Dogs help kids learn to read, Yahoo shuts down Yahoo Pets

January 30, 2009 |  2:57 pm

Reading dog programs are gaining in popularity

From pets on the Web to those who help young readers get the hang of good old-fashioned books, these are the stories that made us sit up and take notice today:

-- "Reading dog" programs -- which encourage young children to read by allowing them to practice their skills reading aloud to dogs -- are gaining in popularity around the country.  One such program in the suburban Washington, D.C., area is called Paws to Read.  "I liked reading him the pool part" of a book about a beaver, 5-year-old Norah Doherty of Ashburn said of her time with Gus, a St. Bernard. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to wait an hour for the chance to read a story to Annie, the other therapy dog at the library that day.  (Washington Post)

-- A recent puppy mill bust in northwestern Washington state sent nearly 600 dogs -- most of which  were found to be pregnant with an estimated 1,500 puppies in all -- into area shelters.  Now that the dogs are safely out of the puppy mill, the real work of caring for them has begun, and it's very expensive: Most have parasites and all need dental care.  Some dogs have rotted jaws from dental neglect. Dental work costs about $200 per pet, which means the total bill will top $119,000.  (KOMO News Seattle)

-- Yahoo has shuttered its Yahoo Pets division in a cost-cutting measure after a fourth-quarter loss of more than $300 million.  Yahoo called the pets site a "comprehensive resource for pet owners and animal lovers" when it launched in 1999.  Pets.yahoo.com now redirects to a pet-themed section of another Yahoo property, Shine. (San Francisco Gate)

-- A San Diego County deputy who stole her neighbor's dog and abandoned it 20 miles from her home in Hemet has been sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation and was ordered to pay a $454 fine.  The deputy, Diane Michelle Brown, claimed the dog's barking was a nuisance and an attempt to take its owner to court was thrown out.  The dog, a Maltese named Spike, was unhurt and returned to his owner after being identified by microchip.  (San Diego Union-Tribune)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Young Collette Megerdichian reads to a dog named Baltic as part of the Barks and Books program at the Glendale Central Library. Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times

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