A creative idea allowing children to read to shelter dogs in order to help them socialize and increase chances of adoption has been widely praised on the internet.
While young kids may not be able to adopt pets themselves, they can help shelter animals at the Humane Society of Missouri in other ways thanks to the Shelter Buddies Reading Program.
The revolutionary program, for which children aged 6 to 15 can apply online, encourages kids to come to the shelter and read to the dogs, an act good both for the animals as well as the children.
While additional interactions help dogs socialize and prepare for their new owners, children profit by spending more time reading and building up their empathy.
“We wanted to help our shy and fearful dog without forcing physical interaction with them to see the positive effect that could have on them. We launched the program last Christmas, but now we offer it once a month,” Jo Klepacki, the director of the program, said in an interview with The Dodo.
As the mastermind behind the program explained, kids who sign up for the program show up at the shelter and sit in front of dogs’ kennels while reading to them.
“Ideally that shy and fearful dog will approach and show interest. If so, the kids reinforce that behavior by tossing them a treat,” she added.
“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.”
According to Klepacki, the idea, which was well-accepted by the public, has proved to be very effective.
“Hearing a child reading can really calm those animals. It is incredible, the response we’ve seen in these dogs,” she claimed.
What are your thoughts on this story? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to SHARE this post with your family and friends and follow us on Facebook for more news and stories!