Missouri Children Give Back To Man’s Best Friend
The saying might be “a dog is a man’s best friend”, but a group of children in Missouri are showing that the friendship goes both ways.
Jo Klepacki, who works at the Humane Society of Missouri, has created a brand-new initiative to help give stray and abandoned dogs who might be a little shy or nervous the chance to build their confidence, in the hopes that this will help them find their “forever” homes. The Shelter Buddies Reading Program involves children going into the kennels with a book, and reading to the less outgoing inmates. If the dogs approach, and show interest, they will be rewarded with a treat. The hope is that this will reinforce a positive association with people.
“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,” explained Klepacki, “They are more likely to get adopted if they are approaching and interacting rather than hiding in the back or cowering.”
The dogs aren’t the only ones who benefit from this creative program though; each child undergoes a ten hour training schedule which teaches them how to work with animals, encourages empathy, and helps them connect with the dogs whilst practicing their literacy skills
“They’re seeing fearfulness in these animals, and seeing the positive affect they can have. It encourages them to look at things from an animal’s perspective.”
It is hoped that The Shelter Buddies program will eventually expand to all of the Humane Society’s Missouri shelters. Watch the video below to see the program in action.