GOOD NEWS Kids and Shelter Dogs Bond Over Books at the Missouri Humane Society
Here's a story that's sure to make you smile!
The Humane Society of Missouri is inviting children to read to their shelter dogs in an adorable - and mutually beneficial - program.
The Shelter Buddies Reading Program gives kids a completely non-judgmental audience to practice their reading skills, while at the same time helping acclimate timid and anxious shelter dogs to the presence of humans.
"We started this for two reasons," JoEllyn Klepacki, the assistant director of education at the Missouri Humane Society, told ABC News. "Dogs in a shelter environment exhibit a lot of signs of anxiety and show stress signals, so we wanted to do something to comfort them, and we have a lot of children in our area who are really engaged and they ask, 'How can I help? How can I make a difference?'"
Children, ages 6 through 15, go through a training program and then bring their own books to read to the dogs or borrow from the shelter's extensive library of animal-related books.
"These dogs, if you had seen them before the kids sat down, these were the dogs who would stay at the back of their kennel, scared," Klepacki said. "The goal is to get the dog to come to the front of the kennel by the time they finish their book, or a few books ... We know that dogs that approach the kennel front get adopted more quickly, so they are helping these dogs get a home."
Klepacki said the difference the program, which started in December, has made in the shelter is "just amazing."
Check out more photos of this incredible - and adorable - idea below!