In the wee hours of a dark and foggy September morning, I was slumbering peacefully, as is my habit, when suddenly I heard Duncan’s voice, urgently summoning me.
“Yoshi! Wake up. We have work to do!”
As CLiF Canine-in-Residence, I have many daily responsibilities, but on this day, I could tell he had something different planned for us. Shaking off my fatigue, I wagged my tail eagerly, indicating my willingness to perform whatever task he had in mind. After a hurried breakfast, we climbed into the CLiF-mobile, where the dashboard clock read 5:15am.
“Where are we going?” I asked wordlessly, but Duncan, focused on the road, didn’t answer.
For the next three hours, we drove in companionable silence, finally reaching what I now know to be the very southwest corner of our home state of Vermont, and arriving at our destination: Pownal Elementary School.
Duncan explained that Pownal Elementary School, located in the lovely town of Pownal, VT (pop. 3,400) had recently been awarded CLiF’s $25,000 Year of the Book sponsorship, and today we were there to kick off the program with a storytelling presentation and a book giveaway! I could barely believe my luck.
I tilted my head to make sure I had understood everything correctly, and Duncan added: “And, of course, Yoshi, I am going to need you to be very helpful, and a good girl.”
Honestly, this made me a little indignant, as I am ALWAYS both helpful and good, but in the excitement of the moment, I let it go. We had books to unload, presentations to host, and kids to meet!
We ferried 18 boxes of books into the school gymnasium, where I could not resist doing a little bit of romping and sliding. Nothing like a slippery surface to bring out one’s inner puppy! Once we got everything set up, the children started flooding the room–so many of them! All those happy and inquisitive voices! My tail started to ache from all the joyful wagging, but I couldn’t help myself. I had a whole new understanding of the saying, “Every dog has her day.” What a day I was having!
In all, Duncan and I presented to 230 students from kindergarten to grade 6, sharing the awesomeness of books, reading and writing, and telling stories. Then each child approached the tables strewn with brightly colored books and picked one out–the first of 10 they will take home over the course of the year. Lots of them showed me their choices, and lo and behold, each child had selected the perfect book for themself!
Everyone at Pownal Elementary School was so nice and welcoming, and I basked in all the attention I received. Duncan told me this trip was a special occasion, but I will still keep my paws crossed for more school visits in the future! This year, the students at Pownal Elementary, and at all CLiF Year of the Book schools, will enjoy visits from six or seven other CLiF presenters, as well as many more book giveaways. Lots more excitement to come!
As Duncan and I climbed back into the CLiF-mobile to begin the long journey home to CLiF headquarters, I felt like the luckiest dog in the world. It had been a day to remember. And now, I was ready for a very long nap.