Country Vet has stated that both reading and spending time with a dog can help ease feelings and symptoms of stress and anxiety. As a result, it would make perfect sense to do both more often in order to not only make yourself feel better but create a strong bond between you and your pet – and that’s exactly what one shelter is doing.
The Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter recently created their Reading Paws program, where children aged 6 to 16 come and read to the shelter dogs. As the shelter reports, the response from the community has been “overwhelming.”
Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter
This animal shelter reading-to-animals program in Michigan helps soothe shelter animals while giving kids a chance to build reading skills in front of a nonjudgmental audience! https://t.co/ZD5jUYZJ2y
— CargoPal-MaryLola (@Cargo_Pal) November 15, 2019
The shelter shared a Facebook post, revealing that sometimes the shelter environment can get a little overwhelming for the furry residents waiting on their forever homes, and as a result, reading makes them feel better.
Waffers loves reading! Okay, she can't read because she is a dog but she loves when humans read to her. Our shelter is…
After the kids came in and began reading to the animals, there was an improvement in their moods and thus the environment in the shelter became calmer. The shelter is currently looking for child volunteers to come in and fill the reading spots, so if you know a child who’d love to read to cats and dogs, you can contact the shelter through their official website or their social media page.
The shelter’s next reading session will be held on the 27th of November but it’s already full. However, the following one, on the 4th of December, is looking for sign-ups so you can click here to join, or call 517-676-8311.
WE LOVE THIS! ♥ An animal shelter in Michigan is running a reading program called “Reading Paws,” in which children 6 through 16 years old can read books to shelter pets. https://t.co/QHkERzsq0c
— Eyewitness News WTVO/WQRF (@MyStateline) November 12, 2019
Children are free to bring any book of their choice from home, or they can choose a book from the large collection of books available at the shelter. Also, it should be noted that the shelter requires all children to come with a parent or guardian who must be present with them during the reading session.
The reading program is a great idea since it serves a benefit to both the dogs and kids. The children get a chance to strengthen their vocabulary, oratory and literacy skills while the animals get a calming experience of human interaction as the children read to them. Country Vet also noted that there are many studies who have shown how reading to dogs is a great way to improve self-confidence, as well as public speaking skills.
@WestridgePRIDE @MrsmacRoom120 @realtherapydogs Carol Roadhouse of Manassas Therapy Dogs stopped by with Quincy, a Collie, to confirm details as WRES sets up a Paws for Reading program. Starting Friday, students will be able to read to Quincy in the school library. pic.twitter.com/FsVYsrbLau
— Westridge Elementary (@WestridgePRIDE) November 18, 2019
This is a result of being provided an opportunity to speak out loud without the fear of judgment. Since there are many benefits to reading in front of pets, there have also been a number of in-school programs being implemented that allow kids to read with dogs.
Plus, most kids already have a natural affinity for animals, so reading to a dog (or cat) helps children feel less self-conscious because it eliminates the stress that a child would normally feel reading aloud in from of a classroom full of students.