Rufus is a registered Jack Russell Terrier (JRT), aka Parson Russell Terrier, although everyone who sees him says, "He doesn't LOOK like a Jack Russell." JRTs can have a rough, wiry coat, called a “broken” coat, or a smooth coat. They are white and may have black, brown, tan, cream, or tri markings. His owner, Pam, now carries around a book with pictures of JRTs that look like him. She, says, "Rufus came to us as a Christmas gift...a little white bundle of fur, with a red bow bigger than he, and it was all over!"
Rufus T. Dog
This is one of the most popular breeds on television, certainly made famous by “Eddie” on the Frasier show and “Wishbone” from the PBS series Wishbone, as well as by movie stars like Milo” (The Mask) and “Barkley” (Clean Slate). Commercials for RCA, MCI, and Nissan have included the terriers, as did a pizza commercial where a JRT and a shaggy dog licked sauce off a giggling child’s face.
This is a breed known to be filled with energy and attitude but also alert, confident, playful, and very affectionate. They are typically good with children but may not tolerate rough handling from toddlers.
Rufus has been part of a registered animal assisted therapy team since 2006. He and Pam work with Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy, an AAT group in the Chicago area. Rufus has worked in a variety of programs, and has an uncanny ability to adapt to just about any situation.
Being a Jack Russell Terrier has had its advantages in the animal assisted therapy world, although learning to be a therapy dog was a bit of a challenge. Rufus actually failed the first 6-week class because he was way too excited to sit still to be petted; however, he repeated the class, practice made perfect … and the rest is history.
Rufus is a good helper and holds the page open
Rufus and Pam are part of the group of Rainbow teams that started with the Reading to Rover Program at the Wheaton Library, initiated in March of 2008 by their wonderfully innovative children’s librarian, Janet Dumas. Their program runs four times a year in six-week sessions from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Each child signs up for a 15-minute time slot, reading at the same time each week for six weeks. There are four dogs and six 15-minute time slots, so 24 may register. There is a waiting list of 10–15 children who will be called to participate if the registered children are absent
After each reading session, the child receives a bookmark with a photograph of the dog he or she read to, and they really enjoy collecting them.
There are also photographs of children reading with the dogs posted in the Children's Department. The only people allowed in the room are the child, the dog’s owner, and a library staff member. Parents are encouraged to wait outside the room; if they wish to take photos they may do so after the program has ended for the day. The program has been successful on many levels and seems to result in an improvement in the overall attitudes of children toward reading, which is a large part of becoming an established reader.
Rufus is intent on
listening to this story
Rufus is also a marvelous “helper” dog. One of the best things he does is “hand a Kleenex” to someone when they sneeze. Last spring, during allergy season one of the readers was surprised and delighted that Rufus politely handed her a Kleenex when she sneezed!
I didn't expect to learn about snakes today!
Rufus is always ready for a good story and has found that most of his readers bring a couple of books to choose from. He’s flattered that most of them choose books about dogs, but he’s open-minded about the subject matter and has learned that even if the books aren’t about dogs, they can still be interesting.