At the Humane Society of Missouri a new program, called the Shelter Buddies Reading Program is one that will melt your heart. Here, children read to the shelter dogs.
Program director, Jo Klepacki told The Dodo, “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.”
Children are encouraged to sit in front of the dogs’ kennels and read stories. When the dog shows positive curiosity and interest, the kids are allowed to toss them a treat to help reinforce the good behavior.
This program is helping the dogs get accustomed to human interaction and makes the transition to home life when adopted a bit easier and less stressful.
It’s also a great way for the children to learn empathy for another creature while improving their literacy skills. Klepacki continues, “It’s a peaceful, quiet exercise. They’re seeing fearfulness in these animals, and seeing the positive affect they can have…That helps them better connect with animals and people in their lives.”
If the program continues to progress and grow, Klepacki hopes to expand it to other animal shelters in Missouri.
[h/t: The Dodo]