NEW SHARON — Young readers at Cape Cod Hill School welcomed a wonderfully unique – and unusually furry – guest recently. Jasper, a therapy and emotional support dog, owned by Principal Lisa Sinclair visited the school to listen to first-grade students read out loud.

Cape Cod Hill School first grade student Leah Osgood reads a story to Jasper. Jasper is a therapy/emotional support dog owned by principal Lisa Sinclair. (Submitted photo)

“First grade is the year of learning to read and our students are at all different levels,” Sinclair said. “Reading with Jasper reduces their anxiety about reading aloud. The goal is to boost the student’s confidence, enjoyment of reading and their speaking skills.”

Jasper, a mini-sized poodle, began his therapy training by reading with school children, said Sinclair. “We quickly realized that time spent with him was meeting a variety of needs including anxiety, trauma, separation anxiety and more.”

Jasper is one of four emotional support dogs owned by Sinclair. Julie, Jenny, Josie and Jasper are bred for their temperament and trainability to be lifelong emotional support partners.

“The students are convinced it is their job to teach him how to read,” said Sinclair. “Hugs and kisses are generously exchanged as each student takes a turn reading him a book.”

For more information about Sinclair’s dogs, visit

Comments are no longer available on this story