ARGENTA — Emmy Creamer was happy to meet another Emmie at the Argenta Public Library on Wednesday.
The other Emmie is a golden retriever, one of the special guests who visited the library with their humans from Decatur Obedience Training Center in Warrensburg. The appearance was part of a full slate of special events for the Argenta-Oreana Public Library District to celebrate its summer reading program. Later activities this month include a girls' glam day, a visit from the Heartland Mini Hoofs therapy horses, LEGO day and more.
Madison Creamer, Emmy's mother, said she and her three children support the summer reading program and attend every event that they can.
“I liked that big dog best,” said Emmy, 4.
“She's even got the same color hair as you — golden,” said her mother, Madison Creamer.
The canine Emmie was joined by Shetland sheep dogs Zoe, Mia, Silly Sally and Zia, who showed off “nosework” and agility. Sally and Zia, who are still very young and haven't begun agility training yet, were there just to be petted and fed treats by a passel of eager children who surrounded them.
“I love dogs,” said 9-year-old Darren Askren. “Oooh, fluffy,” he added, laughing, as he petted Zia, who was thoroughly enjoying all the attention.
The shelties belong to Barb and Dick Light, while Emmie is Sandee Moyer's. They take the dogs to events to show off their skills, but any competition is good-natured.
“We just do this for fun,” Moyer said while Emmie sniffed boxes to find the one with the cookie in it, navigated tiny glass jars to find one with a certain scent, and looked for a hidden scent marker in the room. The kids watched in silence, lest they clue her in.
Moyer had told the kids “she cheats” if she gets a chance, so they had to make her find it without help, and Dick Light held Emmie's leash in the hallway out of sight while Moyer hid the scents. “It's not for search-and-rescue.”
The dogs and people also gave a presentation at Oreana Public Library on Wednesday afternoon.
After the sniff test presentation, everyone trooped outside to watch the agility demonstration. Zoe is an old hand at agility, and Dick Light took her leash off and trotted alongside while she easily took the jumps and ran through the tunnel, while Mia, who is still learning about agility, took a bit more coaxing from Barb Light, who laughed helplessly when Mia went the wrong way or stopped in the middle of the set of stakes she was supposed to weave in and out of.
“She's new to agility,” Barb Light told the kids.
The dogs get sardines or meatballs as treats and back inside to pet Sally and Zia, the kids got a chance to offer some treats, which were readily accepted. All those children gathered around and all those strange hands petting would upset some dogs, but not Sally or Zia.
Their reason for such presentations, Barb Light said, is to introduce children to dogs, to talk about proper care and handling of dogs, and to show them what training can accomplish.
“We want to see people and their dogs happy together forever, and not to have any dogs go into shelters, ever,” Barb Light said.