Cultural Glimpse

Enjoying diversity

Tag: Children

Reading to an Irish Wolfhound

“Paws for Reading” is a special program once a week at the Sterling Heights Public Library. My children love going in the youth services area, where in a special room in the corner, they read to a different “therapy” dog each time. A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas. The dogs at the library, which are accompanied by an adult, are so friendly you never hear a single bark out of them – no matter what size they may be.

One day it may be a greyhound, another time a saluki or a golden retriever. We never know which breed to expect until we get there and the dog’s name is written on a sign besides the entrance door. My kids take a number and wait in line. This Tuesday it was a white-smoke hair colored Irish wolfhound by the name of Hooligan with huge friendly eyes that looked at me with a gentle expression, like, “Hey, I’m just doing my job. Thanks for coming.” The children were then given a sticker and bookmark that had Hooligan’s name and picture printed on it.

Irish wolfhounds are soft-natured, easy-going and are the tallest of dog breeds, thought to have been brought into Ireland as far back as 7000 BC. The breed almost disappeared, but was successfully revived by efforts of the captain of the British Army D E Graham to recreate it. He drew the line related to wolfhounds, and as a result developed a modern breed, Irish wolfhounds, which are today well established as companions and guards.

I learned today that the Sterling Heights Library first opened in 1971 in the basement of the City Hall on Utica Road. In 1974, it moved to a ranch house that was where the library parking lot now sits. In 1979, the library that is up today was built on farm land that was part of the Upton House across the street. The Upton is the oldest house in the city, and now houses public offices.
In 2000, the large Youth Services that exists today was added to the building, and thank God for that. I come here often to work on the computer while my kids, just feet away from me, play, pick out books and movies, read to a dog, and ask the librarian questions like, “Do you have any books that teach something?”

Building an Igloo for Our Penguin

The reason I crack up during the fight is because when my niece/goddaughter asked me to film her earlier, I told her the iPhone battery was dying. But I had to catch this “little” fight on camera! It was my only highlight, given I was too scared to sled down the hill. 

Saleem & Huggie

A few weeks ago, my cousin brought over her daughter’s and son’s clothes for my kids, who are younger than hers, to try on. In the bags was a cute stuffed penguin which my son fell in love with. He named him “Huggie” and since then, Huggie has been a part of our family. He goes almost everywhere with us. For example, yesterday he came along sledding.

At the park, the kids decided to build an igloo for “Huggie” to make him feel more at home. There are three traditional types of igloos.

•The smallest was constructed as a temporary shelter, usually only used for one or two nights. These were built and used during hunting trips, often on open sea ice.

•Intermediate-sized igloos were for semi-permanent, family dwelling. This was usually a single room dwelling that housed one or two families. Often there were several of these in a small area, which formed an Inuit village.

•The largest igloos were normally built in groups of two. One of the buildings was a temporary structure built for special occasions, the other built nearby for living. These might have had up to five rooms and housed up to 20 people. A large igloo might have been constructed from several smaller igloos attached by their tunnels, giving common access to the outside. These were used to hold community feasts and traditional dances.

I’m not sure if Huggie’s igloo falls into any one of those categories.

Huggie in his igloo