This past holiday season, The Humane Society of Missouri‘s Club HOPE organized their first annual Deck the Howls reading event. It was so incredibly successful for the children AND the dogs that the Shelter Buddies Reading Program became a regular event open to all Kind Kids ages 6 – 15!
Youth members of Club HOPE, a St.Louis-based animal-friendly, after-school club for elementary school kids, visited The Humane Society in December and read some of their favorite books to the shelter dogs. Since then, every upcoming reading event has been sold out! The shelter plans to add more dates soon in response to the program’s success. It has proven to be a great confidence booster for shy kids (and shy dogs!)
Sharing stories with these awesome pups does more than just improve kids’ reading ability. It also gives the shelter dogs an important opportunity to engage in social situations, which ultimately helps them become (even) better candidates for adoption. As HSM President Kathy Warnick noted, dogs who are shy “learn to relax around new people,” while more energetic dogs “learn that calm behavior is desirable.” And, who knows, maybe the pups learn a new word or two.
I can try to help you sound out a big word, but regrettably I cannot turn any pages.
You can watch a short video of the kids and their pup pals reading together below:
If you live in the area, and would like your child to participate in the program, check here for upcoming event dates. To help The Humane Society of Missouri, check out their donations page or consider adopting one of their many adoptable dogs.