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Marlow Elementary puts some bark in its reading bite
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Leslie Sprando shows how smart her dogs are to Marlow Elementary School students. - photo by Photo by Sandi Van Orden

Marlow Elementary students who met their accelerated reader goal for the first nine weeks were treated to a dog show Thursday.

Marlow Principal Betty Jean Ferguson said 528 students, or 75 percent of the students at the school reached their accelerated reader goal.

Kim Sheffield, media specialist at MES, said the school’s theme for the year for accelerated reader is the circus.

“Reading is the greatest show on earth,” Sheffield said.

She said Leslie Sprando heard what the school was doing, and volunteered to do a dog show. Sprando told the students about the two border terriers and brought the border collie with her.

She told the students to never touch a dog whose owner was not with it, and to never let a dog know if they are afraid of it.

Sprando then had her dogs perform a series of tricks and asked the children to think about who’s smarter, the dog or them.

“How many times did I have to ask for the dog to sit?” Sprando asked the students.

“One,” the group of students replied.

“How many times does your teacher have to ask for you to do something?” Sprando said.

“One,” the students said.

One by one, the dogs performed tricks from push-ups, to sit, stay and ran through the agility course.

“Who’s smarter?” Sprando said. “You or the dog?”

“The dog,” the students replied.

“You are smarter than the dog,” Sprando said.

Sprando has been training dogs competitively for 25 years. She began having shows for children 15 years ago when she was working in education in Screven County.