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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Review: Don't Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs - Guest Post by Maggie

I'm really excited about my guest blogger today! A fellow elementary school counselor in my district, Natalie, has a furry co-counselor that works with the students in her school. She helps kids immensely with feelings and behavior. Very awesome! So without further adieu let me introduce you to the amazing Labradoodle - Maggie. And yes, SHE is the guest blogger! We wanted to give her an opportunity to share her perspective on a cool book she's been reading with kids this school year called Don't Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs. Enjoy! Ruff!

Author: Wendy Wahman
Interest Level: Ages 4-8

Description from the Publisher's Website: Meeting a new dog is exciting, but it can also be scary. This humorous how-to manual shows kids the best ways to interact with unfamiliar dogs, providing helpful tips about all sorts of dog behavior. Children often don’t understand what dogs’ actions mean and can misinterpret a threatening signal for a friendly one and vice versa. Kids and parents will return to Wendy Wahman’s playful illustrations again and again for useful reminders: Slow Down. Stay very still. And remember, don’t lick the dog!

Why It's On Maggie's Bookshelf: Hello, my name is Maggie and I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank Wendy Wahman for writing Don’t Lick the Dog: Making Friends With Dogs.

I work at an elementary school in Portland, Oregon as a canine counselor. I try to help out as many teachers and students as I can! I have done a lot of different things ranging from teaching students about using gentle hands to walking with kids around the playground when they feel like they have no one to play with. Although the hours are long and the work is hard (1st grade recess duty always wears me out!), I love all of my students and enjoy coming to school each day!

On occasion, there have been a few not-so-great experiences with young students who got a little over-excited around me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kids at my school, but I REALLY want to stand up for my dog-rights, too! Everyone wants to feel respected and loved, no matter how hairy they are!

Earlier this school year, Roxanne told Natalie (my colleague) about a book focused on teaching dog-friendship skills. Natalie and I reviewed Don’t Lick The Dog and decided all the K/1 classes would have one lesson focusing on dog-friendship skills. Since most of the kindergartners and some of the 1st graders had never met a dog-counselor before, we thought we should read this book to them before I made my introductions.

Reading my new book with a student!
Well, the Don’t Lick The Dog lessons were a success! In the past, whenever the students saw me on the playground, they would rush over to me. This wouldn’t have bothered me so much if it were only four or five kids. But when it’s TWENTY or THIRTY kids RACING towards me and SCREAMING my name, I’m down-right surprised I didn’t poop my pants (if I wore pants) right there on the spot! After the lessons, I’ve noticed many students “curl [their] fingers underneath” and let me sniff-out exactly who they are before they pet me gently. Also, so far no one has given me a “Whap! Whap! Whap!” Last year, a little kindergartner whapped me on the back and it really hurt my feelings!

I love students!
My favorite part of Wendy’s book is near the end. She writes:

Dogs aren’t toys to hug and squeeze
Or poke or chase or tug or tease.
Just like you and just like me,
Dogs have personalities.

Wendy, these lines are PURE GENIUS! Not only did you make them rhyme, but it’s like you read my heart!! How did you know there have been times when I felt I was being treated more like a furry toy than a hard-working canine counselor?! It really is hard being so cute because sometimes people don’t take you seriously! Many days, I wish I were born a slobbery Great Dane or a tough Bull Mastiff!! Don’t Lick The Dog has reminded me of my rights and has helped young kids learn to show respect and love to me and my canine peeps.

In conclusion, Don’t Lick The Dog is a must-read for all young children who want to make some canine friends. I give it my official “2 PAWS UP”, way up! Wendy Wahman, thanks for representin’!! You go, Girl!

2 Paws Up for this book!
A little more about the guest blogger:
Maggie loves little kids!  She's a very gentle and affectionate dog who prefers kids over adults. One of her favorite things at school is to be surrounded by a mob of kindergartners.  She loves visiting the school secretary in the office (especially because she gets treats from her!).  Sometimes, if an unsuspecting student is walking Maggie in the hall near the office, she will lead the student right into the office! She sure knows where those treats are!  Bananas are one of her favorite foods. Maggie recently rifled through Natalie's bag and ate a piece of banana bread. She has NEVER stolen food before so she must have really wanted it. And Roxanne secretly wishes she had a Maggie at her school.

Maggie being goofy!
A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:


  1. I have a labradoodle too and would love to bring him to school as my co-counselor. Could I get Natalie's email or could she email me so I could talk to her about how she did this and what it looks like? my email is and my name is Marian Finley

  2. Molly E., Portland, OR22 November, 2010

    I am so honored to work with Maggie at our school in Portland, OR. She puts a smile on the faces of so many kids. She is a great friend and co-counselor of our school. And she takes the best school pictures every year. Wow, I am so impressed with her writing skills! I definitely want to read the book now! Way to go Maggie!

  3. And good news! Maggie is writing another review on another favorite book of hers!