When it comes to barking at a tree, these local shelter puppies know where their books come from as local children joined the shelter for a day of reading on Thursday afternoon.
The Stephens County Humane Society (SCHS) offers its Summer Reading Program every year to help animals learn a few extra social skills, which would help them get adopted. The program also helps children who volunteer to read refresh their literacy skills, as well as provides them with an opportunity to become compassionate towards shelter animals.
Patti Whitaker of SCHS said the reading program is a way to help children develop their reading skills, draw attention to shelter dogs and strengthen community relationships.
“It might not be possible for one person to adopt all the pets in need of a good home,” she said. “These kids are doing the best in bringing shy shelter dogs out of their shells.”
Whitaker said it was a win-win program for children and pets at the shelter.
According to Whitaker, children are able to prepare dogs and cats for their forever home by taking the time to socialize with them.
“Some children struggle with reading and as a result have developed self-esteem issues,” she said. “They are often embarrassed when reading aloud in front of other classmates.”
During this time, the children took the opportunity to sit with the animals, be it a dog or a cat, and read, without feeling judged.
“The child relaxes and concentrates on reading,” Whitaker said. “(It) boosts the child’s confidence and self-esteem.”
Every child who walked through the shelter doors to read to a shelter pet won a certificate for a snow cone, courtesy of Dandy Dan’s Shaved Ice.
Whitaker said, “Without a doubt, it’s a positive program.”
For more information about SCHS or to donate, visit http://stephenscountyshelter.com/.