Thunder Dog Community Read

Community read sparks Sunday with the Library: Meet the Working Dogs of Fauquier County

Author Michael Hingson’s Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero is an awe inspiring true story of a blind man, his guide dog Roselle, and their escape at Ground Zero. The story, however, is also much more. Michael Hingson, who has been blind his entire life, refused to be limited by his disability. Thunder Dog was selected for the 2018 Community Read because of its inspirational story, including the role Roselle, Hingson’s trusted guide dog, played in his life.

Roselle struck a chord with library staff, so much so they wanted to spotlight other ways working dogs contribute to our community and enrich lives. From that desire came the program Sunday with the Library: Meet the Working Dogs of Fauquier County. Deborah Cosby, branch manager of the John Marshall library, said, “This book was selected because of the compelling story of bravery, diversity, and determination as well as the book’s broad appeal to readers of all ages, including middle and high school students. As part of the signature event (a visit to our community by the author) the library is presenting a wide variety of programs related to the book.”

Lisa Pavlock is the public information coordinator with Fauquier County Public Library and she shared, “We really wanted a book that would inspire readers and spark discussion. Mr. Hingson’s story resonates with readers, regardless of what challenge they face. People in the community are excited about the opportunity to read this book and discuss it with one another.”   

“While the entire focus of Thunder Dog is not on Mr. Hingson’s guide dog, Roselle, she is the heart of his story. The story can not be told without her, so the library wanted to highlight the ‘working dogs’ of our community,” said Cosby. “Our Sunday with the Library: Meet the Working Dogs of Fauquier County will combine discussion and demonstrations with these special dogs and their people. No program about Thunder Dog would be complete without a discussion of the contributions of guide dogs. ”

Cosby also shared, “Our library programs will include dogs and people from the following: Guiding Eyes for the Blind, therapy dogs which are part of the PAWS to Read program, and Fauquier County K-9 Unit.” Participants will see these working dogs up close, and gain a deeper appreciation of the canines’ skills, intelligence, and ways they assist individuals.

“Our local team is honored to participate in the Community Read Program. We get to see every day how these unique animals safely guide their partner who is blind or visually impaired through all sorts of settings. We’re excited for more people to learn about these incredible dogs by reading Thunder Dog and hearing from Michael Hingson firsthand,” said Jodi Haveles, regional manager with Puppy Program for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. We hope attendees will also understand how important the work of generous Puppy Raiser volunteers is to building a bond of cooperation and trust, so a puppy can learn to move through the fascinating world of humans. The love our raisers give to potential future guide dogs gives back in so many ways; in every guide dog beats the heart of a Puppy Raiser.”

Mary-K Ruffner with Paws to Read said, “This is a wonderful way to spend time with your certified therapy dog while sharing their special qualities with your community. The dogs, owners, and children are all happy participants, thoroughly enjoying each month’s visit.” Ruffner also shared, “Certified therapy dogs may visit, with the facility’s permission, schools, libraries, hospitals, and nursing homes, bringing comfort and a bright spot in the day wherever they visit. Personally speaking, my dog Bella and I both love our time volunteering at the library and elementary school. I am not sure who enjoys it the most, the children, Bella, or me.”

Fauquier County Public Library is eager to share how these amazing canines assist so many in this local community. Cosby said, “For those of us who love dogs, we need no proof that they are truly ‘man’s best friend’. But the love, loyalty, spirit, and inspiration revealed in Michael and Roselle’s story is a powerful confirmation of that very special relationship.”

To learn more about Fauquier Community Read, this program and the many other programs being offered as part of the Community Read, visit the library’s website and search community read.(

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

A guide dog puppy raiser will bring puppies in training to visit, and staff will talk about what guide  

For more information on this organization. For more information, visit their website (

PAWS to Read Therapy dogs

The therapy dogs who will visit are members of the Library’s PAWs to Read program which allows children to read to dogs that visit the library). The dogs also visit schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. For additional information visit their website (

Fauquier County K-9 Unit

Members of the Sheriff’s department will bring their patrol dogs and a Search and Rescue recruit (in training). Participants in this event will view a demonstration on how these canines perform their duties. Visit the Fauquier County website for more information on these amazing dogs (

April 11: An Evening with Michael Hingson

Rice Theater, Highland School at 7:00 p.m.

Registration is recommended. Call 540-422-8532 or go to to register.

Fauquier County Public Library has incorporated Thunder Dog into many regular programs and special events such as: Careers with Animals, PAWS to Read, Meet the Working Dogs of Fauquier, as well as others. For a full listing visit the library’s website.


Debbie Eisele
About Debbie Eisele 63 Articles
Debbie Eisele is a freelance writer and the Community Outreach Coordinator for Hero’s Bridge, a nonprofit serving older veterans. She lives in Warrenton with her husband and twin daughters.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.