Man's best friend lending an ear in Catoosa County

Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! is not something one normally hears during discussion about teaching the "three R's" - reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic.

But soon canines will help kids become literate as part of a READing Paws program that is being formed in Catoosa County.

photo Fade Crump, a second-grader at Boynton Elem.; Maggie, a 3-year-old greyhound; Ashley Crump, a seventh-grader at Heritage Middle School; Melissa Holcombe, volunteer coordinator for READing Paws; and Jeffery "J.P." Collins, a third-grader at Ringgold Elementary, from left, are some of the faces of the READing Paws program.

READing Paws is animal-assisted therapy where kids read to dogs, according to Melissa Holcombe, a social worker with the local school system who is also volunteer coordinator for this program.