Meet Ceili, Cutchogue-New Suffolk Free Library’s therapy dog

Monday, May 13, is a special day for Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library’s furry friend, a golden doodle named Ceili, who turns another year older.

Ceili, soon to be 7, has been a therapy dog at Cutchogue New Suffolk Library for five years, according to her owner, Cutchogue resident Marla Koster.

“It’s just such a fun and wonderful program,” Ms. Koster said. “She loves to go to the library, if I have her in the car and I stop at the library and it’s not a day for her to go in, she gets very upset, she cries because she wants to go in, she wants to go and see all her friends at the library.”

Kids get to read to Ceili at the library year-round, according to the head of youth services, Mignon Osmer.

“Sometimes, she comes once a month, sometimes she comes twice a month, it really depends on the signup that we have,” Ms. Osmer said. “She’s very gentle with the kids, she’s a hypoallergenic dog, so there’s no issue with any type of allergies.”

Young readers can bring a book of their own or borrow one from the library, and each participant is allotted a 15-minute reading session with Ceili.

“If there are no other children signed up or if somebody doesn’t show, they just take the next person’s spot,” Ms. Osmer said.

Ceili is very popular with the community and has a lot of repeat customers eager to read with her, according to Ms. Osmer.

Prior to Ceili’s arrival, an Italian greyhound and two great Danes would travel from Ronkonkoma for the reading program, but the long commute made it difficult to continue that service. Ms. Koster’s daughter, Bonnie Zelner, told the library about Ceili.

“We’re thrilled,” Ms. Osmer said.

Ms. Koster worked as a microbiologist at Plum Island for more than 36 years and when she retired, she knew she wanted to get involved with therapy dogs.

“I knew I wanted to do something with my time once I was retired and I thought that getting a dog that would be a therapy dog that I could take to hospitals and things like that would be a good thing to do,” she said.

After some research Ms. Koster decided on the golden doodle breed because of their kind disposition. She adopted Ceili at nine weeks old.

“We went through training out here with a couple of different trainers,” Ms. Koster said of Ceili’s therapy certification. “I also did training with her at PetSmart which was a very nice program.

“It’s just a way to give back to the community,” Ms. Koster said. “It’s a great way to just connect with other people.”

For more information on the reading program, visit Cutchogue New Suffolk Library’s website at or contact the library at 631-734-6360.

“Any way that you can promote children and literacy and reading so that they don’t feel uncomfortable, they don’t feel like they’re being judged,” Ms. Osmer said, “that’s a very good thing.”