To make shelter dogs’ lives less stressful (and to let them know they’re loved), kids from the Shelter Buddies Reading Program in Missouri are reading to them!
After graduating from a ten-hour training course, the six to 15-year-olds sit with fearful dogs and read to them. Kids in the program are taught to understand dog body language to see if the animal is stressed or anxious, too.
The idea is to give shy dogs better interactions with humans and slowly gain confidence around them again. This will make them more adoptable when visitors come to greet 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 re-enforce that behavior by tossing them a treat’.
The response has so far been incredibly positive. And while the dogs gain trust in humans again, children also connect better with animals and improve their reading skills in the process. It’s a win-win!
Via Bored Panda