For many animals living on the streets or with heartless owners that fail to take care of them, being taken into an animal shelter is definitely an improvement. However, for those animals not getting adopted right away, which happens for a large number of them, life at the shelter can get pretty lonely, pretty fast.
These animals are often frightened and have lost trust in humans due to their unfortunate past, and sadly this reduces their chances of finding a happy new home even more.
To tackle this problem and improve the animal’s chances of finding loving owners, The Humane Society of Missouri started a new program. Called the Shelter Buddies Reading Program, the project involves young children, with ages 6 – 15.
“We started this for two reasons,” said JoEllyn Klepacki, assistant director of the Missouri Humane Society. “Dogs in a shelter environment exhibit a lot of signs of anxiety and show stress signals, so we wanted to do something to comfort them. We have a lot of children in our area who are really engaged and they ask, ‘How can I help?'”
The kids spend time with the dogs, reading to them. This not only helps dogs improve their social skills and slowly learn to trust people again, but it is also beneficial for the children who get to improve their reading abilities in a way that is pleasant to them. The program started in December last year, and the results are pretty impressive. A lovely gesture and a win-win situation!