Schoolchildren in Hamilton have decided to include reading to shelter animals in their after school activities.
One day a week, children partaking in the Keystone to Discovery Afterschool Program visit the Bitter Root Humane Association and read to shelter dogs and cats.
This is a refreshing snippet of animal news after disturbing reports about the USDA torturing and abusing animals went live earlier this year.
As strange as it may sound, the reading seems to have a soothing effect on the shelter animals, according to Keystone director Rita Overholt:
“We’ve seen that the sound of their voices is soothing for the dogs and cats [...] It is relaxing to the dogs to hear those calm and steady voices.”
Considering that the majority of shelter animals have come from questionable backgrounds, the program seems to be a good way to get the shelter animals used to more friendly human interactions.
Furthermore, for the dogs and cats that have been long-time guests at the Bitter Root Humane Association, this after school idea appears to be a good way to keep them calm and familiar with a diverse mix of people.
But it isn’t just the shelter animals at Bitter Root that benefit from the reading scheme. Apparently the children do as well.
According to reports from parents and teachers, their children’s reading skills have greatly improved:
“Dogs are a totally non-judgmental audience to read to. We’ve found that it does help them build their reading skills and they have fun doing it.”
It’s nice to hear about schoolchildren getting involved with positive, accepted activities rather than joining in with a celebration of “Kick A Jew Day.”
This unusual means of educating and improving the lives of shelter animals is one that is totally the choice of the schoolchildren.
Missoulian reported that one of the schoolchildren, a keen sports enthusiast, openly chose to read to the shelter animals instead of playing a game of dodgeball.
Furthermore, none of his peers batted an eyelid at the decision.
Eva Burnsides, the shelter’s manager, had this to say about the program:
“The kids enjoy it and the dogs really enjoy it, [...] Yesterday they had just finished eating when the kids showed up. They got to digest their meal to the sound of stories being read to them in nice, calm, reassuring voices.”
It does appear that these fortunate shelter animals have a calm and relaxing way to wait for their forever homes while still having constant human interaction.
[Image via now.msn]