She thought we were crazy living in a small town like Great Bend (but) we love the peace and quiet.Glenn Schraeder
Glenn Schraeder and his wife Linda are longtime Great Bend residents, known as the owners of Scranton Machine & Supply for many years. However, Glenn is better known to hundreds of area children for his canine pal Luna, a Burmese Mountain Dog trained to listen to kids as they read aloud.
On July 31, it will have been seven years since the couple sold their business. But some would say training Luna and taking her to visit schools, libraries and other locations is a full-time job.
Luna wasn’t the first dog he trained to do therapy work.
“I had another dog 12-14 years ago doing therapy work but I was working at the time, so we only saw about 60 people a month, usually on Sundays,” he said.
Now, he and Luna see as many as 800 people some months. After meeting the training requirements, Luna earned her certification through the Pet Partners program, which registers therapy dogs and other therapy animals. Luna is part of Pet Partners’ “Read with Me” program. The organization put Glenn and Luna through a rigorous evaluation of more than 20 qualities to see how they interact and to certify her as a registered therapy dog.
Glenn and Luna have been a Pet Partners team since 2018.
Once they were ready, Glenn took Luna to the Great Bend Public Library to see Amy Mayhill, the children’s librarian.
“She said they had just been talking about having a dog come that kids could read to. She said, ‘You just walked in and fell right into it!’”
“It’s very difficult for most kids to be able to read out loud to anybody,” Schraeder said. “But kids have a tendency to be able to read to a dog.”
In April, they finished their weekly “Read to Luna” series at the Great Bend Public Library, taking a month off before they return during the Summer Reading Program in June.
We All Nuts
Area bicyclists may not know the Schraeders, but they may recognize the farm where they live, located south of the Great Bend Airport. Cyclists often pass the stone carved with the name of the “We All Nuts” farm.
Schraeder said the name was suggested by his daughter-in-law who lives in the “Big City.”
“She thought we were crazy living in a small town like Great Bend,” he said. When it came time to name the farm, Schraeder didn’t want to use something boring like “Walnut Valley.” So he created a play on his daughter-in-law’s words. Think of a Southerner drawling “Y’all” and you have the farm’s name: “We’all Nuts!” (Walnuts.)
Although that sounds like a rowdy place to be, Schraeder says it’s usually peaceful. He and Linda came here from the East Coast in 1973 to help with the family-run business, owned by her father. He says they used to live in the middle of the universe and they moved to the middle of nowhere, which is fine. “We enjoy the peace and quiet.”
Most of the time, that is.
“We’ve had a few exciting moments out there,” he said.
One time, three bicyclists from Wisconsin stopped by and camped on the Schraeders’ land overnight on their way to Arizona.
“They got stuck in Colorado,” he said. “It wasn’t the Donner Pass, but it was rough.” While they were in Kansas, the area was under a tornado watch. Linda cooked the bikers supper and he brought them a trash bag and showed them a storm shelter from the original homestead site, just in case they needed to take cover.
Two other campers who showed up at the farm were traveling in a gypsy wagon pulled by mules. They were a little afraid to stop at the farm after reading “We All Nuts” carved in stone, but a neighbor happened by and reassured them. After visiting with the campers, Glenn learned they, like the cyclists before them, were from Wisconsin. They knew of each other but didn’t personally know one another, he said.
“It was an oddity that they both wound up here,” he said. “We’re interconnected.”
Community Connections is a regular feature of the Great Bend Tribune, showcasing people who live in the Golden Belt. We welcome readers to submit names of individuals who are active in the community that they would like to see featured in a future story. Send suggestions to email@example.com and explain their “community connections.”
Tips on how to successfully read to your pet
Children often feel at ease reading to animals. Pets are just there to listen – not to judge how well they are reading.
• Set up a comfortable spot for the reader and pet to sit. Make sure the readers will be able to show the pet pictures from the book.
• Pets can get distracted, so have a favorite pet toy on hand to keep the pet engaged if needed.
• Encourage your child to pause and pet your animal to keep them settled down and comfortable during the reading session.
• Reward the pet for their good listening behavior with a treat at the end of the reading session!
Souce: Pet Partners, www.petpartners.org/allears/