When I was a kid, I didn’t have a lot of friends. So when summer vacation would roll around, I’d find myself a bit lonely. As a result, I used to spend a lot of time with my pets. One of the things I used to like to do was read to them the little stories or poems that I’d written and illustrated. They seemed to enjoy it and it would make me feel less alone.
As it turns out, Country Vet has stated that both reading and spending time with a furry little friend can help ease feelings and symptoms of stress and anxiety. As a result, it would make perfect sense to do both more often in order to not only make you feel better, but create a strong bond between you and your pet.
The Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter recently had something similar in mind when they created their Reading Paws program for children aged 6 to 16 to come and read to the pets in the shelter. As the shelter reports, the response has been “overwhelming.”
The shelter shared a Facebook post where they revealed that sometimes the shelter environment can get a little overwhelming for their furry residents as they wait on their forever homes, and as a result, reading can make them feel better.
Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter
This animal shelter reading-to-animals program in Michigan helps soothe shelter animals while giving kids a chance to build reading skills in front of a nonjudgmental audience! https://t.co/ZD5jUYZJ2y
— CargoPal-MaryLola (@Cargo_Pal) November 15, 2019
After the kids came in and began reading to the animals, there was an improvement in their moods and thus the environment in the shelter became calmer. The shelter is currently looking for child volunteers to come in and fill the reading spots, so if you know a child who’d love to read to cats and dogs, you can contact the shelter through their official website or their social media page.
Waffers loves reading! Okay, she can't read because she is a dog but she loves when humans read to her. Our shelter is…
The shelter’s next reading session will be held on the 27 of November but it’s already full. However, the following one on the 4th of December is looking for sign ups so you can click here to join the program, or phone 517-676-8311.
Children are free to bring any book of their choice from home, or they can choose a book from the large collection of books that the shelter has as well. The shelter has also noted that all parents or guardians must be present with their kids during the reading session.
The reading program is a great idea since it serves a benefit to both parties. The children get a chance to strengthen their vocabulary, oratory and literary skills while the animals get a calming experience of human interaction as the children read to them.
WE LOVE THIS! ♥ An animal shelter in Michigan is running a reading program called “Reading Paws,” in which children 6 through 16 years old can read books to shelter pets. https://t.co/QHkERzsq0c
— Eyewitness News WTVO/WQRF (@MyStateline) November 12, 2019
Country Vet also noted that there are many studies who have shown how reading to dogs is a great way to improve self-confidence, as well as public speaking skills. This is a result of being provided an opportunity to speak out loud without the fear of judgment.
@WestridgePRIDE @MrsmacRoom120 @realtherapydogs Carol Roadhouse of Manassas Therapy Dogs stopped by with Quincy, a Collie, to confirm details as WRES sets up a Paws for Reading program. Starting Friday, students will be able to read to Quincy in the school library. pic.twitter.com/FsVYsrbLau
— Westridge Elementary (@WestridgePRIDE) November 18, 2019
Since there are many benefits to reading in front of pets, there have also been a number of in-school programs being implemented that allow kids to read with dogs.
Plus, most kids already have a natural comfort and affinity for animals, so reading to a dog or cat friend helps children feel less self-conscious as it helps to decrease the stress that a kid would normally feel reading aloud in a classroom full of students.
What a great idea!
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
Help Rescue Animals
Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free! →