It is a sad fact that many shelters are overcrowded, and end up euthanizing their dogs if they fail to find homes within the time frame allowed. Many shelter dogs fail to find homes because of their "shy" or "unfriendly" attitudes. These dogs' pasts have been marred by cruelty, neglect, or deprivation, making it difficult for them to break out of their shells.
The Humane Society of Missouri has created a promising program that allows shelter dogs to be as socialized as possible! The Shelter Buddies Reading Program allows children ages 6-15 to train dogs at shelters by reading to them!
The first few sessions of this program were really excellent. Children read to dogs in calming accents and interact with them, which promotes positive behavior reinforcement and makes shy dogs feel comfortable and welcome. As the dogs become more outgoing and "adoptable," kids learn the nuances of a shelter dog's body language. It's a win situation!
Because of the program's effectiveness, the shelter has made this reading activity a permanent component of their annual holiday celebrations. "Deck The Howls" is a holiday event where kids can make adoptive greeting cards and other goodies for their new animal friends. It would be great if every shelter could implement similar programs for their "unwanted" dogs!
Watch the adorable bonding time between the kids and the lonely shelter dogs in the video below!