This Book-Loving Therapy Dog Is Making Us Wag

Editor’s note 2/21/19: We were so saddened to hear the news that Sting recently passed away. We send our love to his family, and our thanks to Sting for bringing joy to so many people during his time here.

It all started with a simple Facebook post. In early February, local dog owner John Muellner’s now-famous therapy dog, Sting, was waiting for kids to come and read to him at the White Bear Lake Library as part of the Paws to Read program. The only problem was that there weren’t any takers that night. John’s initial post was simple, describing the unfortunate situation and showing Sting’s reaction:

sting the therapy dog
Don’t even try to tell us this doesn’t make you sad.

Normally, that’s where it would have ended. Sting and John would have gone home, continued with their lives, and returned to the library the next week in the hopes that kids would have signed up.

But that’s not what happened—not by a long shot.

sting the therapy dog
Some dogs chase squirrels. Sting chases quality children’s fiction (and also probably squirrels).

First, the post blew up immediately, eventually fetching over 100,000 shares and 78,000 likes. There was a massive outpouring of support, with TONS of people signing up to read to Sting and filling his schedule for months in advance. There have been lasting effects, too.

According to White Bear Lake Library’s children’s librarian, Ann Wahlstrom, Sting’s fame has led to tons of attention for Paws to Read and similar initiatives. These programs promote literacy among young readers by letting them practice their reading in a comfortable, non-judgmental environment (plus, you get to hang out with a nice dog. It’s a pretty sweet deal).

John tells us that what makes Sting special in his volunteering at the library and Gillette Children’s Hospital is his constantly relaxed, attentive demeanor. He informed us, “The kids love that Sting really seems to pay attention to what they’re saying. Plus he welcomes their pats and hugs. ”

sting the therapy dog
Don’t let Sting see these buttons, though.

Sting has gotten lots of recent attention, too: his Facebook page just reached over 1,500 followers, and sign-ups to read to him are still going strong. He’s come a long way from his loneliness just a few weeks ago. Sting is basically famous now, but don’t worry: John tells us it hasn’t gone to the pup’s long head. Yet.

Want to show Sting some love? Check out his personal Facebook page. If you go and see him (or read to him!), tag your pics with #SidewalkDog on Instagram.

Sting was adopted through Greyhound Pets of America MN. If you’re looking to adopt a Greyhound of your own, check out the pups they have available for adoption!

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