Allison Glass/News Rising Mount Vernon Middle School seventh-grader Ashton Armstrong, center, reads to Bessie, a Redbone Coonhound, at the Knox County Animal Shelter on Friday morning. Armstrong is a member of WAGS, a volunteer group of students who read to shelter animals throughout the year. Also pictured, from left, are Ella Marofsky, Danessa Beougher and Rebekah Yarman, with teacher and coordinator Trudy Debolt, standing, in the background.

Allison Glass/Mount Vernon News

Rising Mount Vernon Middle School seventh-grader Ashton Armstrong, center, reads to Bessie, a Redbone Coonhound, at the Knox County Animal Shelter on Friday morning. Armstrong is a member of WAGS, a volunteer group of students who read to shelter animals throughout the year. Also pictured, from left, are Ella Marofsky, Danessa Beougher and Rebekah Yarman, with teacher and coordinator Trudy Debolt, standing, in the background. Request this photo

 

MOUNT VERNON — A local group of Mount Vernon Middle School students have been quietly and patiently giving their time to some of Knox County’s adoptable four-legged friends.

The Working Dog Awareness Group, or WAGS, is a volunteer coalition of students who volunteer their time reading to animals at the Knox County Humane Society cat shelter and the Knox County Animal Shelter.

The program began four years ago, sixth-grade teacher and coordinator of the WAGS program Trudy Debolt said. She explained that the entire sixth-grade class at MVMS are required to read the book “Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam,” by Cynthia Kadohata, which is a historical fiction book that tells the story of a dog who was donated to the United States military to be trained and used as a scout dog during the Vietnam war.

“This book had such an impact on the kids, because they fall in love with the dog,” Debolt said. “The first year after we read it, they just didn’t want to be done talking about the dogs and what the dogs do for the military and how they’ve helped.”

 

Allison Glass: 740-397-5333 or allison@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @

 

 

 

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