Reading to Rescues
School is back in session and September is just around the corner. While many of us look forward to football games and pumpkin spice anything, the animals who call Lee County Humane Society (LCHS) “home”, can barely contain their excitement for Books & Barks to begin. On the second Monday of each month of the school year, LCHS opens its doors to children age six to eleven to visit the shelter and read to adoptable cats and dogs.
The Books & Barks reading program is designed to benefit the participants and shelter animals alike. Regardless of your child’s literacy level, reading aloud to an animal builds confidence, fluency, speed, and even empathy. Animals create a judgment-free zone as they simply enjoy the company, regardless of how many times a child takes extra time to work through a phrase or read the same book aloud. Practice makes perfect and bonds between children and animals can be created along the way. Even confident readers benefit as they work on their speed, phrasing, and delivery of the material.
LCHS features two different cat rooms where the children can sit, read, and interact as the cats roam cage-free within the designated space. Chairs are also set up in front of the kennels of the other cats and dogs in the shelter to allow as many children and animals to benefit from the program as possible. The kindness and attention shown during Books & Barks helps to socialize and brings comfort to the animals who live in a stressful shelter environment.
For anyone considering fostering or adopting a pet, Books & Barks is a great way for your family to see how the children interact with animals. As the kids strengthen their reading, they will also have exposure to kind and compassionate behavior towards animals, the responsibilities required for animal care, and pet safety. Don’t hesitate to ask the LCHS staff to learn more about introducing an animal into a home with children. With a family pet, your child has a built-in reading partner every day!
During Books & Barks, you can bring a book from home or pick one out from the shelter’s collection on hand. Participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times during the event. Space is limited, so please register for the event by visiting https://www.leecountyhumane.org/books-barks. Books & Barks is free; however, LCHS is always appreciative of monetary donations and wishlist items.
Purina Dog Chow
Any brand canned dog or puppy food
Purina Cat Chow
Any brand canned cat food
Purina One Kitten food (teal bag)
Royal Canin Kitten food or baby cat food
Canned kitten food (Royal Canin preferred)
Kitten replacement milk (any brand except Hartz)
39 Gallon Trash Bags