There’s something very Zen about this program put on by the Humane Society of Missouri and we would love to see more animal shelters replicate this idea.
The shelter pairs up children to read to dogs and in the process, that teaches kids to care for the animals that share their world. To the humane society, the program is all about fostering attitudes of respect, responsibility and kindness for critters and kids.
The Shelter Buddies Reading Program was designed to help the humane society’s shelter dogs become more adoptable. Reading to the dogs helps to bring comfort to and reduce the anxiety of shelter pets, and it nurtures empathy in children. Participants sit outside of the dog’s kennel and read to them.
Reading helps shy dogs learn to relax around people and teaches high energy dogs that calm behavior is desirable. When children tell stories to the dogs, it also helps them develop their own reading skills!
The only requirement for the children is to come to a training class with their parents and to wear closed-toed, rubber-soled shoes to protect their feet and give better traction when walking through the animal wings.
While the tiny readers are welcome to bring their favourite book, the library also has more than 100 animal-themed books to choose from.