The Humane Society of Missouri has started something different and spectacular at one of their shelters. They have started a program where children read to shelter dogs for their mutual benefit.
They’re calling it the “Shelter Buddies Reading Program,” and they’re accepting limited recruits for training at this time. The program is accepting children between the ages of 6 and 15 years old. Children who are accepted into the program receive 10 hours of supervised training, and after that are allowed to come read to the dogs with parental supervision.
The idea of the program is to ready dogs for forever homes, while teaching the children a thing or two as well.
Reading to the dogs has become a solution to help alleviate shelter dogs from anxiety. When the children read to the dogs, it helps ease the dogs into the idea of forever homes, and instills empathy into the children.
The reading has all kinds of positive, proven effects on the dogs as well as the children. The reading aids the dogs in becoming relaxed and socialized. For the children, it improves their reading, social, and oral skills. It helps the children feel more comfortable reading aloud in school. Dogs don’t judge or correct when a kid pronounces a word wrong.
Klepacki, the program’s coordinator is looking to expand the program to other shelters throughout Missouri. They are also looking at reading to sheltered cats as well. We’ll have to see if cats love reading the same way that these dogs do.