Sometimes, it can take quite a while for shelter dogs to get adopted. But sitting alone in a cage all day isn’t the best arrangement for any animal that wants to become part of a family. Recently, the Humane Society of Missouri has found a way to make sure its pups still get plenty of attention while they wait to be taken to their forever homes.
By allowing children to come read to dogs at the rescue, the Shelter Buddies Reading Program helps socialize the more timid ones of the bunch. “We wanted to help our shy and fearful dogs without forcing physical interaction with them to see the positive effect that could have on them,” program director Jo Klepacki told The Dodo. “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.”
The program is available to kids age 6 to 15 and requires them to complete a 10-hour training program on how to read dogs’ body language and properly interact with them. The children can then come back to the shelter with their parents at any time for a reading session.
“Hearing a child reading can really calm those animals,” Klepacki said. “It is incredible, the response we’ve seen in these dogs.”