The Shelter Buddies Reading Program at the Humane Society of Missouri is doing wonders for everyone involved.
The concept is simple: teach kids to read to shelter dogs as a way of preparing them for forever homes, all while instilling a greater sense of empathy in the youngsters, too.
Kids who sign up for the monthly program are encouraged to sit in front of a shy dog’s kennel with a book and read to them.
“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,” program director Jo Klepacki told The Dodo.
“Ideally that shy and fearful dog will approach and show interest. If so, the kids reinforce that behavior by tossing them a treat. What this is also doing is to bring the animals to the front in case potential adopters come through. They are more likely to get adopted if they are approaching and interacting, rather than hiding in the back or cowering.”
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John Hunter Hospital, in conjunction with Delta Therapy Dogs, has recently conducted a trial that’s being monitored by medical professionals around the world.
The preliminary findings found that bringing the dogs to visit sick patients has sharply boosted their spirits and led to an unprecedented reduction in recovery times.