The Shelter Buddies Reading Program has join forces with the Humane Society of Missouri to make a huge difference in the lives of both children and animals.
The program pairs children ages 6 to 15 (after completing a 10-hour training program) with shy and fearful dogs waiting at the shelter for adoption, it’s very important that they have a chance to interact with others, so the children sit in front of the dog’s kennel and practice their reading skills to calm the dogs simultaneously.
That’s why the program’s director, Jo Klepacki, came up with the idea to have children read to these dogs without forcing physical interaction with them to see the positive effects. “Ideally the shy and fearful dog will approach and show interest. If so, the kids reinforce that behavior by tossing them a treat,” Klepacki told The Dodo. “Hearing a child reading can really calm those animals. It is incredible, the response we’ve seen in these dogs.”
And the more timid dogs aren’t the only ones benefiting from the program. High-energy dogs, too, have shown improvements from being read to. And if all goes well, Klepacki hopes to expand the reading program to all of the Humane Society of Missouri’s shelters.