He's so big; he gets so much attention," said his owner, Doris Kirchner, a professor of languages at the University of Rhode Island.Kirchner
, who lives in Warwick, works out at the West Bay YMCA in North Kingstown.She
saw a sign posted there two years ago that noted the Y was looking for dogs to take part in its after-school reading program.She
had to allow someone other than me to handle his
paws, head, ears, et cetera," Kirchner
"That's when we go on unemployment," Kirchner
hooked up with Barbara Montecalvo for a spring program.She
and Sharif visited once a week last spring, and are doing the same this year with Montecalvo's third-graders, beginning last week.Kirchner
and Montecalvo became friends when their sons attended the same Montessori school.
They ran into each other after Kirchner
and Sharif joined the reading program.
"I told her
about the reading program and a few weeks later she
asked me if we wanted to visit her
Montecalvo managed to sneak out just long enough to introduce Kirchner
and Sharif to her class.
Growing up, Kirchner
always wanted a Great Dane, but her
parents wouldn't allow it.She came to URI in 1993.
was granted tenure in 1999, her
husband, Ron Loeser, bought her
a Great Dane, since they were now staying put.That was Nike
, a female who has since passed away.
Today, the Kirchners have two Great Danes - 3-year-old Sharif and a 6-year-old female, Zoe, who Kirchner
said is too hyper to be a reading dog.
believes the program works well because "a dog doesn't judge them.
...Doris Kirchner professor of languages at URI and Sharif's owner
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