Billy with the Ferguson siblings, Cash, Cohen and Indie, at Stoke’s pop-up Library. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Billy the bookworm helping students


Literature levels are being lifted at Stoke Library thanks to its resident canine companion.

Young readers have been reaping the rewards of Billy the dog’s regular visits as they are able to read aloud confidently with no judgement or corrections.

Billy acts as a support dog for his disabled owner who is unable to leave home.

The owner’s mother, Nicki Berkett, says she wanted to get Billy out and about and what better way than to volunteer his time to children?

The five-year-old Shih Tzu-Maltese-lhasa has proven a hit with the wee ones as they often argue about who gets to read to the popular pooch first.

“He’s amazing with the kids,” Nicki says.

Nicki says the children grow in confidence as they read to Billy.

“Dogs don’t correct, they just listen, and Billy is a great listener.”

You can find Nicki and Billy at the Stoke Library at Greenmeadows on Wednesdays from 3.30pm.