Dogs Help Author Spread Message of Self-Esteem

"Woody’s Five Ways to Be Successful” writer visits schools with her Dachshunds in tow.

Dogs can teach kids lots of things, including empathy and discipline. But author Leigh Anne Florence has another to add: self-esteem.

That’s why the former teacher travels with her Dachshund Woody and his sister Chloe to schools all over her home state of Kentucky to teach children about self-esteem and self-empowerment.

Each of the letters in Woody’s name corresponds to a different lesson or issue, and Woody’s motto is “work and dream like a big dog.”

Florence told the Kentucky Courier-Journal that she realized early on that dogs are powerful educational tools. Now she uses the dogs and her books, “Woody’s Five Ways to Be Successful” and “Woody’s Five Ways to Improve Writing,” as ways to talk to kids about having a positive attitude and working hard at school.

Michael Malpartida, 10, was at Florence’s visit to a Kentucky school. The fourth-grader said he liked that the “W” in Woody’s name meant “Winner.”

“I liked that she taught us that we can all be winners,” he says.

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