Throughout the year, I covered many stories from the often tumultuous tales out of city council to sports, but meeting Timba was the highlight of the year for me.
Timba can’t read. Doesn’t talk much. Yet in 2016 he became one of the best literacy ambassadors in Sooke. He works for free – and the occasional doggie treat.
I was first introduced to Timba, a golden retriever and his owner Josee Belanger, while working on a story on the new Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Paws 4 Stories program.
Timba, a therapy dog, is a gentle soul who visits the library to help children improve their reading skills.
The children will snuggle up to Timba on a blanket with book in hand and read aloud. And read some more. Timba will listen attentively, sometime rollover to get his belly scratched or his ears patted.
But he’s never judgmental.
And it’s likely the reason people fall love him from the first time they meet him.
Timba snuggled up to me in our first meeting and seemed to have an intuition about him when we met several times later in the year.
Belanger said whenever she puts on Timba’s red collar he knows it’s time to go to work, and his demeanor changes: he stands up a little straighter, ears erect and chest pumped. His big tail wags, never too excited, but always happy to be there.
Timba and the Paws 4 Stories program is the story from 2014 that will have a lasting effect on me.