Every so often you come across a story that leaves you thinking… that’s genius! The following story is a perfect example that will not only warm your heart, but will also leave you wondering why it wasn’t thought of long ago.
Jo Klepacki, director of the Shelter Buddies Reading Program, came up with an ingenious idea that allows children to read to shelter dogs. Shy and fearful shelter dogs often times go unadopted because they are less appealing to potential adopters.
The Shelter Buddies Reading Program aims to bring these dogs out of their shell in hopes of upping their chances of adoption. The program is simultaneously also helping children improve their reading skills and develop an empathy for animals.
Children ages 6-15 can signup for the program online. Once enrolled in the program children then take a ten hour course that helps them interpret a dog’s body language so they can evaluate if a dog is nervous or stressed.
Once they identify a stressed or nervous dog they are encouraged to sit down next to the dog (outside of his kennel) and begin reading to it. The goal is to get the animal to show interest or approach the child.
If a dog responds, the child is then told to give the animal a treat as a reward to reinforce the behavior. Apparently hearing a child read out loud is calming to these animals and can even relax a dog with a lot of energy.
The results from this program seem to be speaking for themselves as some of these otherwise un-adoptable pooches are now finding their forever homes because of it. The dogs aren’t the only ones benefiting from the program however.
The children are not only practicing their reading skills, but they’re also seeing the positive effects that their reading is having on the dogs. The children get to see their efforts transform a shy and unapproachable pup to an engaged and lovable K-9, which is a very rewarding experience for them.
I love hearing about things like this. I think it’s so simple yet so brilliant at the same time (like most great ideas always are). Anything that benefits both children and dogs definitely gets extra credit in my book.
Featured Image and Post Image Source: Humane Society of Missouri
Thank you to The Dodo for sharing this story.