Shelter dogs need a lot of love and support while they wait to find their forever homes, and the children in the Shelter Buddies Reading Program are doing their part to help the shy and nervous dogs at the Humane Society of Missouri.
The Shelter Buddies Reading Program is a beautiful initiative that lets children read books to nervous dogs in order to help the dogs gain more confidence.
By being read to, the shy dogs get to socialize with the children without having to physically interact with them. It’s very calming for the dogs to hear the children read and many have noticed a significant improvement in the dogs’ moods.
Before the children get to read to the dogs, they go through a 10-hour training session that teaches them how to interact with dogs and how to spot a shy or nervous dog.
They are encouraged to identify shy dogs and read to them. After the children have completed their training, they are welcome to come back to shelter any time and read to the dogs, as long as they’re accompanied by a responsible adult.
The program isn’t only beneficial to the dogs. The children get to work on their reading skills, and they also learn about empathy, compassion and how to be aware of someone else’s feelings. They learn to view the world from the dogs’ point of view, and the ability to empathise with someone else can help them better connect with other animals as well as with other people in their lives.
The program is making the dogs feel much better which in turn is helping them find their forever homes. Their newfound confidence helps them get noticed by visitors to the shelter and makes it easier for them to connect with others.