Last Saturday P read to a dog. We were at the library and there some dogs waiting to be read to, so she read to a dog.
Only she can't really read, so I did the reading, with her supplying the occasional word.
Also, the dog was sitting on the other side of its person, a kind-faced older lady, and P was sitting on the other side of me.
So rather than P reading to a dog, what happened was that I read to a stranger with a dog sitting nearby and P supplying the occasional word.
apparently dogs make an ideal, nonjudgmental, calming audience for children to build their confidence in reading aloud.
P does not lack confidence, although she is occasionally shy. And while she can't really read yet, she's perfectly happy to pretend she can. She 'reads' her toys stories most nights. On our recent trip to the UK she turned pages and babbled in Minionese to a rapt three year old who later told me 'Penelope can read'.
We're clearly not the target audience. So I'll shelve my scepticism. Kudos to the kind people of the Beach cities who bring their dogs to libraries so nervous kids can enjoy reading.