Due to Covid-19 precautions, the shelter pups, kitties, and staff are missing out community visits from our adults and kiddos. We are offering our Shelter Buddies Reading Program to get you and your child out of the house and to come get our pets out of their kennels for some enrichment!

 

This program sets children ages 6-12 with fearful pups or kitties to help them get ready for life with a family!

The children sit in the HSMS “Dawg House,” with one or more shy dogs or kitties, most often kenneled, to read to them from a story book of the child’s choice. We have provided some books, but your child is more than welcome to bring one from home if they have a favorite.

 

These special non-aggressive dogs and cats will be chosen by our handlers as the ones that would most benefit from this program. We want this experience to be a positive one for our fury friend and your child.

 

To sign up for one of our 30 minute slots, please give us a call at (706)781-3843 or email hsmsevents@gmail.com

Look at the benefits!

  • Kids read to shelter animals not only to keep them company, but also to help make them less fearful and more adoptable
  • Reading to the animals helps bring comfort and reduce the anxiety of shelter pets
  • When children tell stories to the dogs and kitties, it also helps the child develop their reading skills
  • The Project nurtures empathy in children and teaches high energy animals that calm behavior is desirable

Week One- Shadow, Lew, Persia, and Persephone

This week was the first week of our program!

The kids were given the option this week to read to either our Open Cat Room, where the cats are free to roam around the room and climb up into the kids’ laps, or to two of our puppies, Persia and Persephone. Both the kids and the pets had a blast, and we look forward to the rest of the summer!

Week Two- Rango and Molly

Shelter Buddies week 2 was another huge success! This week we read to two cats, Molly and Rango, who have come to the shelter recently and both need some work before they can be put up for adoption. Both were single-owner kitties and they’re very confused and scared about where they are and why their owners aren’t with them anymore. The reading program was a good first step to show these guys that other humans aren’t so bad!
They still have a long way to go, but they did warm up a little by the end of the day. Rango even went from hiding his face in the corner to turning around and listening to the stories attentively!
Spots are filling up fast, but you can give us a call at (706)781-3843 to sign your child up for a reading session!

Week Three- Delilah

Our Shelter Buddies day for week three was another huge success! This week we read to Delilah, the lobby dog here at our shelter. She is staying with us a little longer than dogs normally would, because she came to us in need of treatment for heartworms.
When she first arrived here at the shelter, she was so timid and afraid of everyone. She couldn’t handle too much stress due to the heartworms, so our staff had trouble with even taking her for her walks without stressing her out.
We made the decision to let het hang out in our front office during the day, so that she could experience more human contact, and it really helped her come out of her shell! She’s truly blossoming into a wonderful and sweet dog.
At this point is when we decided to test her out with our Shelter Buddies program. She was a little shy at first, but in the end she LOVED all of the attention the kids were giving her! We’re so happy that she’s able to take another big step towards trusting people again.
We would also like to thank our participants, one of the families brought a donation with them of treats and toys for our shelter pets! They really appreciate it.
Thank you to everyone who participated for another great week, and we’ll see more of you next week!

Week Four- Delilah, Ember, and Calvin

Check out our Shelter Buddies from week four!
That kids had the choice between reading to Delilah again, or reading to the cats in our Open Cat Room!
Delilah had a blast with the kids, and the cats on OCR, Ember and Calvin were loving the attention too! (we learned that Calvin loves bean bag chairs!)

Week Five- Yoshi

Our Shelter Buddies this week read to Yoshi!
Yoshi is a 1.5 year old Husky/Australian Shepherd mix who is just fun loving and friendly and sweet. He absolutely adored spending time with the kids this week, and got comfortable quickly crawling up into everyone’s laps to get a better seat for storytime.
While Yoshi isn’t shy or timid here at the shelter, he can still benefit from our reading program by using the calm and quiet environment to teach him that nice calm behavior is acceptable.
We had another great week of Shelter Buddies, and are looking forward to next week!

Week Six- Peppy

Here is week six of our Shelter Buddies Program! Today we read to a grumpy little Chihuahua named Peppy. Peppy has been with us for a short while, and is having difficulties with getting comfortable with people. He has one person here at the shelter who he adores, and there was a time where our poor employee would have to come in on her days off just to walk him, because he wouldn’t let anyone else near him.
We decided he would be a good candidate for our Shelter Buddies Reading Program, and hoped that the kids reading to him would help him come out of his shell and relax a little bit.
He was a little grumpy at first, but through the day he calmed down a lot, and we realized he loves kids! With the kids interacting with him through his barrier, they were able to convince him to stand up on his hind legs, spin around, and paw at the ground playfully. He had a great time with the kids, and got lots of treats through the day.

Week Seven- Peppy and Shelby

On our seventh week of reading, Peppy was letting us know that he wasn’t super interested in the program about halfway through the day, so we went inside and read to the cats in our Open Cat Room! Shelby had just been introduced to the room that day, and was a little too shy to come out of the Cat Tree that he decided was “safety.” As our kids read to her though, she slowly became comfortable enough to leave her house and explore the room!
We’ve had a very successful reading program so far this summer, and we’re looking forward to our remaining three weeks. We can also happily say that all of our appointment slots have been filled for the remaining three weeks! Our animals will be so happy to see the kids.
Thank you to everyone who has participated and will be participating!