Saturday, February 27, 2016

Win/Win: Kids Read To Shelter Dogs; And They Help Both Dogs and Themselves.

A kid reads a story to a dog in a Missouri shelter.
The dog becomes less anxious as a result.  
The Humane Society of Missouri has hit upon a great idea to make shelter dogs more adoptable, while at the same time helping kids:

They just sit children down in front of the shelter dogs and have the kids read books to the pups.

According to the animal advocacy site TheDodo, the Missouri idea is called the Shelter Buddies Reading Program. The kids' storytime readies the dogs for foreer homes, while the kids learn empathy for pets, and sharpen their reading skills.

The kids draw the interest of shy and nervous shelter dogs, helping them feel comfortable around people and make them more appealing for families who might want to adopt them.

Kids read to dogs in a Missouri animal shelter to help
calm them down and make them more adoptable.  
The storytimes also calm down hyper dogs as they settle down to listen to the kids stories.
The children are also trained to give the dogs treats when the pups calm down or show interest in the story times, as a way to reinforce the good behavior.

The kids, ages six to 15 are also trained to read a dog's body language to tell whether they are anxious  or stressed out. They can then calmly read to settle the dogs down.

As program director Jo Klepaki told TheDodo:

A kid and a shelter dog enjoy reading time together.  
"Its encouraging children to develop empathy with animals. It's a peaceful, quiet exercise. They're seeing fearfulness in these animals, and seeing the positive effect they an have....It encourages the to look at things from an animal's perspective. That helps them better connect with animals and people in their lives."

I have a feeling this idea will spread to a lot of Humane Societies and animal shelters across the nation.

And we will be a better place because of it.

Here's a video of kids reading to the dogs back around Christmastime. It's a very sweet video:


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