Happy Tales are Creating Happy Tails at Rancho Coastal Humane Society
It’s amazing (and awfully cute) what happens during our Humane Education program’s “Happy Tales.” Once each month children read to the adoptable dogs, cats and rabbits at the shelter. It’s not only good for the children, but it’s also good for the animals.
Humane Educator Lizzie Hart explains that the children sit next to the kennels and cages and read to our animals. It helps the animals become more comfortable with children because there is no forced interaction. For pets who are nervous or shy, the sound of the children reading is calming.
It’s not just about having fun. A study conducted by University of California Davis showed that children who read aloud to dogs for 10 to 15 minutes each week showed a 12 percent increase in reading proficiency.
The children told researchers that they felt self-conscious, clumsy, and uncomfortable when they had to read out loud. But when they read to a dog, the same kids told the researchers they felt happy and safe. If reading makes them feel good, maybe they’ll want to read more.
Happy Tales is for children ages 6 to 12 years old. Each session is limited to 8 children supervised by a parent. There is a one-time orientation before participants can read to the animals. Closed-toed, rubber-soled shoes are required. It’s only $5. One mom told us she spends more than that for her morning cup of coffee.
Children are welcome to bring a book to read to the animals or they can borrow a book from the library in the Humane Education center. They can bring their own pillow, blanket, or towel to sit on or use a carpet square provided by RCHS.
For more information about Happy Tales or any of the other programs for children at Rancho Coastal Humane Society visit the shelter at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, call 760-753-6413, or log on to www.sdpets.org.
Just one more thing. As we expected, Spring Animal Camp filled up early.
Summer Animal Camp runs June 24 through August 23. It’s also going to fill up fast. In fact, some weeks are already full. If your little animal lover wants to attend, sign up right away.