This is what I call a win-win situation: the Humane society of Missouri came up with the Shelter Buddies Reading, where the concept is simple; young children, ages six to fifteen, sign up for a monthly program where they sit in front of shelter dogs’ kennels and read to them. Both sides benefit from this program, as children get to practice their reading, and the abandoned, sometimes traumatized dogs get to experience human contact, without forced physical contact.
Shelter dogs are often taken from the streets, and so sadly, more often than not, it’s safe to assume they have been abused in their past. While the temporary time they spend at the animal shelter is a great improvement from the cold streets, they have a hard time adjusting to the new environment. In the hopes of sending them off to their new, permanent homes as soon as possible, it’s important for the dogs to learn how to communicate with humans without fearing them.
Living on the streets and having to fend for themselves often leaves the dogs traumatized and terrified of human contact, making them either shy or aggressive, or both. For the dogs to have a better chance at adoption, the founders of this program hope that spending time with the children would alleviate some of their anxiety and prepare them for their new homes. At the same time, it allows young children to practice their reading and encourage their empathy towards dogs, encouraging them to become more comfortable with each other.