One of the worse things in life, is to witness an animal being abused or one that had been abused. Animals are born innocent and excited for life, but because of the cruel acts of some humans, some of them now live in fear and with a different mentality. Their behavior towards humans had drastically change for the worse.
At the shelter for animals, people seeking to adopt a dog, tend to lean towards dogs who interact more with them. They hardly ever pick a dog that stays in a corner because it's a sign that the dog is not used to a human. Not many people want to spend time and effort in rehabilitating a dog because of the financial aspect of it. They prefer one that is friendly and ready to be adopted.
The Humane Society of Missouri host a program called the Shelter Buddies Reading Program at their humane shelter. It is a program that teaches children, 6 to 15, to read to dogs, in hopes of getting the dogs to feel a bit safer with humans. It also teaches the children to read the animal’s body language and behavior.
“We wanted to help our shy and fearful dog without forcing physical interaction with them to see the positive effect that could have on them. We launched the program last Christmas, but now we offer it once a month," said the program's director, Jo Klepacki. “Ideally, that shy and fearful dog will approach and show interest. If so, the kids reinforce that behavior by tossing them a treat. What this is also doing is to bring the animals to the front in case potential adopters come through. They are more likely to get adopted if they are approaching and interacting, rather than hiding in the back or cowering.”
For animals who have unstable energy, hearing a child read can really calm the animal. The response is incredible and seems to be working. The animals senses the vibe given out by the children and ends up being curious. After detecting that the child meant no harm to it, it slowly approaches the child and sits closer to the child.
This successful Shelter Buddies Reading Program benefits both parties. The children learnt to develop empathy towards the animals and in return, the animals slowly learnt to also build trust with the humans. It encourages the children to feel better connected with the animals. By improving the behavior towards humans, more canines are finding more homes very easily.