Damian Lewis on Helen McCrory’s final heartbreaking message to her family
Damian Lewis on Helen McCrory’s final heartbreaking message to her family

Amanda Cassidy

The Covid weight gain: One woman’s plan to get out of her comfort eating rut
The Covid weight gain: One woman’s plan to get out of her comfort eating rut

Louise Slyth

What to bake this weekend: Nutella soufflés with caramelised pretzels
What to bake this weekend: Nutella soufflés with caramelised pretzels

Meg Walker

Marianne Smyth, aka @smythsisters, on her top summer shopping picks
Marianne Smyth, aka @smythsisters, on her top summer shopping picks

Holly O'Neill

How an architect planned the layout of her own extension
How an architect planned the layout of her own extension

Megan Burns

The Vow: A gripping must-watch documentary to binge this weekend
The Vow: A gripping must-watch documentary to binge this weekend

Jennifer McShane

GALLERY: 30 standout Oscars gowns over the years
GALLERY: 30 standout Oscars gowns over the years

Jennifer McShane

Image / Editorial

Children Read Books To Comfort Shy Shelter Dogs And It’s Adorable


by Jennifer McShane
26th Feb 2016
blank

At a dogs shelter in Missouri, America, a new initiative has started up to benefit neglected animals who need extra TLC. In a programme to benefit both youngsters and animals, children are perching themselves outside kennels and reading their favourite books to shy or fearful canines hoping to?comfort them.

“We wanted to help our shy and fearful dogs without forcing physical interaction with them to see the positive effect that could have on them,” said Jo Klepacki,?programme director at?Humane Society of Missouri.

Entitled the ‘Shelter Buddies Reading Program,’ the organisers told The Dodo that the unique initiative is already making a big difference to the animals. It’s premise is relatively simple: they?train kids to read to dogs as a way of readying them for homes, all while instilling a greater sense of empathy in the youngsters, too.

Doesn’t it all sound too adorable for words?

The volunteers, aged 6-14, are asked to take a 10-hour course that helps them learn to read a dog’s body language and look for signs of stress or nervousness.?They are trained how to read a dog’s body language to tell if they are stressed out or anxious. Those pets, say Klepacki, are the ones most in need of special attention, and so, the eager readers dutifully read their favourite stories to soothe the distressed pets.

5a6ab581b0700198d2497b120cbbbf3338603881cb747d1b40bd20f2cea45d53

This is all done to prep the dogs for their future homes. “Ideally that shy and fearful dog will approach and show interest. If so, the kids reenforce that behavior by tossing them a treat,” said Klepacki. “What this is also doing is to bring the animals to the front in case potential adopters come through. They are more likely to get adopted if they are approaching and interacting, rather than hiding in the back or cowering.”

The timid dogs, as well as the more energetic, also benefit from this.”Hearing a child reading can really calm those animals,” Klepacki said. “It is incredible, the response we’ve seen in these dogs.”

And both the pets and the little ones are reaping the benefits of the scheme.”It’s encouraging children to develop empathy with animals. It’s a peaceful, quiet exercise. They’re seeing fearfulness in these animals, and seeing the positive affect they can have,” added?Klepacki. “It encourages them to look at things from an animals perspective. That helps them better connect with animals and people in their lives.”

Many of these dogs have now found new homes and organisers say sign up has been through the roof since the initiative was launched in December 2015.

Does anyone else want to buy a plane ticket right this second?

Via The Dodo/Humane Society of Missouri

Also Read

Rosanna Davidson and her twin boys
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, PARENTHOOD
Rosanna Davidson: ‘I had sort of accepted that I was a girl who couldn’t have a baby herself’

For Mother's Day Lia Hynes sits down with Rosanna Davidson, whose exceptional journey into motherhood has given many hope.

By Lia Hynes

blank
EDITORIAL
Eclipsed: The powerful, all-female play exposing a Magdalene Laundry you need to see

‘Eclipsed’ director Kate Canning told Jennifer McShane of the challenges...

By Jennifer McShane

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
premium IMAGE WRITES, REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako

Women with MS who take medication, especially immunosuppressants, cannot become pregnant unless they come off medication.
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
I had to weigh up the possibility of losing my mind against losing my future children

Holograms of the children she may never have dance across Dearbhla Crosses' mind as an MS diagnosis and Covid-19 are unwelcome reminders of her biological clock ticking.

By Dearbhla Crosse

blank
EDITORIAL
What to eat this weekend: Fish n’ courgette chips with homemade tartar sauce

This healthy fish and courgette chips recipe from Jane Kennedy...

By Meg Walker

Monica Lewinsky
RELATIONSHIPS
Monica Lewinsky will soon get to talk of scandal on her terms

It was on this day, January 17th, 1998, when news...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
Is marketplace feminism stealing the limelight from real female-driven issues?

‘Femertising’ is big business. Brands are increasingly taking advantage of...

By Amanda Cassidy