By Dashmeet Kaur
Who here LOVES dogs? *Raise your ears because c’mon! How can a sane person think otherwise?*
A dog is a gentleman. Petting a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as a prayer. They love unconditionally, forgive immediately and are the truest of friends. Their agenda is simple: “I want to go out, come in, lick your face lovingly, follow you everywhere and anywhere, play with you and the list goes on”. There are clearly no ulterior motives and that makes relationships with people as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.
While it’s impossible for one person to pet all these darling, furry, four-legged canines, there are kids out there who are doing the next best thing— bringing shy shelter dogs out of their shells!
This innovative new idea, the Shelter Buddies Reading Program, is already making a massive difference for these canines at the Humane Society of Missouri. This program encourages the kids to read to a completely non-judgmental audience and also help these often timid and anxious shelter dogs to adapt to the presence of humans. You can say anything to a dog, and you’ll be awarded with a look that says, ‘Woof woof, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!” Also because no one appreciates the very special genius of the conversation as a man’s-best-friend does.
JoElyn Klepacki, the assistant director of education at the Missouri Humane Society, says “Dogs in a shelter environment exhibit a lot of signs of anxiety and show stress signals, so we wanted to do something to comfort them, and we have a lot of children in our area who are really engaged and they ask,’ How can I help? How can I make a difference?'” And this is just very inspiring!
Not only this
- The kids also go through a training program that teaches them to understand the perspective of dogs in a shelter environment.
- It helps in understanding dogs’ body language and make them feel connected.
- It allows students to practice the skill of reading.
- Children who have self-esteem issues can be given a major boost through such activities.
- Kids can carry their own books to read to these bundles-of-joy or borrow from the shelter’s extensive library of animal-related books.
These furry balls often act more human than canine. The goal is to get the dog to come to the front of the kennel by the time the kids finish a book or two. The dogs that approach the kennel are adopted more quickly and this helps these dogs to get a “forever home”. Treats are also passed to them, striking a positive impact in their behavior.
They have access to every moment. They sit on the laps, cuddle like an infant would (no matter the size), witness acts of affection and the play of children. Like any relationship, this special one has its costs; some plaster would fall, some cushions would open, some rugs would shred but the sheer balance of joy and amusement and protection and companionship is incomparable.
If given the choice, I’d rather vote for a dog.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.