At this Missouri Humane Society, the “Shelter Buddies Reading Program” pairs kids, age 6 to 15, with timid dogs to help socialize and prepare them for life in a forever home. After completing a 10 hour training program, the kids sit in front of a dog’s kennel and read to them from a book.
“We wanted to help our shy and fearful dogs without forcing physical interaction with them to see if it would have a positive effect on them,” the program director says. “Ideally that shy and fearful dog will eventually approach and show interest. If so, the kids reinforce that behavior by tossing them a treat.”
“Reading to the dogs helps to bring comfort to and reduce the anxiety of shelter pets.”
“And when children tell stories to the dogs, it also helps them develop their own reading skills.”
“The project also nurtures empathy in children and teaches high energy dogs that calm behavior is desirable.”
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