Programs at some animal shelters are bringing kids and dogs together in a way that benefits them both.
Dogs in shelters are often stressed. They are in a new surrounding that is rather terrifying. And having children read to them helps the shy dogs come out of their shell. If they’re comfortable interacting with people, the chances of them getting adopted raise significantly. The children also benefit. They are performing a service for the dogs while enhancing their reading skills.
The Humane Society of Missouri has the Reading Buddies program. Kids ages 6-15 can sign up to read to the dogs at the shelter. The children are trained in a course to read a dog’s body language to see if they are stressed and if the reading calmed them.
“Ideally, that shy and fearful dog will approach and show interest. If so, the kids reinforce that behavior by tossing them a treat,” Director Jo Klepacki told The Dodo. “What this is also doing is to bring the animals to the front in case potential adopters come through. They are more likely to get adopted if they are approaching and interacting, rather than hiding in the back or cowering”
Klepacki reports the reading actually helps calm the dogs.
Wow! That is so wonderful. It’s a win/win program. It helps both the kids and the dogs.
If you think other shelters should offer this program, please share! This should go viral!
H/T: The Dodo