Shelter animals may be some of the saddest animals in the world. They have been beaten, are abandoned, and some are even left to die. Then when they are brought to a safe place (which isn’t always safe), unless they are “cute” or very outgoing, they are usually not adopted or the last to be adopted.
Well one shelter in Missouri is trying to change that, by teaching the animals how to be outgoing. Or at least not afraid of people.
How are they doing this? They are employing the help of many young students, also giving the students a way to become more self confident. They are doing this by having the young children read to the shelter dogs.
The Humane Society of Missouri has found this to be an effective way to help dogs become more outgoing, because by reading to the “shy” dogs, they are creating a place where the dogs can learn to trust people again. These dogs then become more interested in people who walk by their kennel, thus increasing their chances of getting adopted.
This also helps the children by allowing them to practice their reading – without having to feel embarrassed by reading to other students or classmates. This is a wonderful way to give the children an outlet without embarrassing them or putting them into a situation that could make them uncomfortable.
The dogs love it, the students love it, and it’s a great way to get the dogs more interaction while they are still looking for their forever homes. The kids are taught what kind of body language to look for in the animals – those who look shy are the ones that need their “special attention” and are encouraged to be the ones the children read to. When the animal approaches the glass as the child reads, the children are given treats to throw to the dogs in order to help reinforce the idea of interaction for the animal.
What an awesome program!
Courtesy: Humane Society of Missouri