Texas woman shares the power of puppets


AUSTIN, Texas – Zev the Puppet Dog is just a mound of fur and fleece you’ll find in Joan Klasson’s garage.

This is where Joan keeps most of her puppets – 400 to be exact.

“These are store bought and donated puppets,” Klasson said.

She has been playing puppets for almost 40 years. Klasson made his debut as a young student.

“I made my first puppet in fourth grade in Brooklyn, New York,” she said.

But getting there was not easy. Klasson suffered from dyslexia, a reading disability. She found her place the day she discovered puppets.

“The puppets saved me! They kept my educational experience to get to where I could, ”Klasson said.

Klasson became an art teacher and made sure that his students also had skills in puppetry. Now she offers her shows to everyone, from eight to 80 years old. Each show is tailor-made for young and old alike.

“He brings them joy, brings them memories, brings them pleasure! Zev the dog said.

And it’s therapeutic. Klasson and Zev have a special place in their hearts for the elderly, including memory patients.

“They love to stroke me, they love to love me and they treat me like a dog!” Wait a minute, I’m a dog! Zev said.

“If the eyes are captivating and the conversation captivating, this is the conversation. And many of our seniors don’t have the opportunity to get involved, ”Klasson said.

But everything changes the moment Klasson and his band of puppets enter the room.

She says some patients clap, even get up and dance.

“And sometimes they sleep,” Zev said.

But it is okay. Klasson pays him with a passion for puppets.

“I love to make people happy. This is how I breathe, ”Klasson said.

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