Children are reading to shelter dogs, and the results will make you melt

Feb 25, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. ET

Shelter dogs are always in need of love and attention, and who better to give that than a bunch of big-hearted children?

The Humane Society of Missouri started the Shelter Buddies Reading Program last Christmas but decided to keep it after they saw its success.

Dogs that are more on the shy side often have a hard time getting adopted, mostly because they're afraid to approach potential adopters. How are they supposed to fall in love if they never get close up to these lovable pups?

This is where the Shelter Buddies program comes in handy.

Image: Humane Society of Missouri/Facebook

Children who have been trained through the shelter spend time sitting just outside of the dogs' kennels, reading them stories. Do the dogs actually listen to the stories? No one really knows. But what they do know is that the dogs who are read to have a better chance of getting adopted.

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According to the group's Facebook page, "Reading to shelter dogs outside the kennel helps them become more comfortable with potential adopters approaching their space."

Image: hsmolovesanimals/YouTube

Not only do the frequent company and calming voices of the children soothe the dogs, but it teaches them to be comfortable with people in their space. It doesn't hurt that the kids are allowed to reward the dogs' positive responses with treats.

Since the dogs tend to come to the fronts of their kennels when they're being read to, it also helps them get noticed by potential families during those times.

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Children trained through the program are permitted to stop by anytime during regular shelter hours to read to the dogs, so it's not uncommon to find a child reading to an enamored pup if you stop by to scout out a new family member.

This program is not only beneficial to the dogs at the shelter but also to reluctant readers who may not be so quick to fill up their reading logs for school. There's nothing like an eager audience to encourage new readers, and these pups fit that bill, for sure.

Image: hsmolovesanimals/YouTube

The success of this program just goes to show how easily you can make a difference in the life of a shelter dog, even if adoption is out of the question for you. If your local shelter doesn't have a program like this, it more than likely has tons of volunteer opportunities available, many of which are designed to help socialize dogs and get them ready for adoption. Become a shelter dog walker, stop in and play with the pups when you get a chance, or just visit the kennels when you can and let them hear the sound of your voice.

It's not that hard to make a difference in the life of a dog who needs so much.

Take a closer look at the Shelter Buddies Reading Program in this video from the shelter.


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