Kids Make a Quiet Difference for Shelter Animals

Kids Make a Quiet Difference for Shelter Animals

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on January 4, 2023

Pets at the Citrus County Animal Shelter in Inverness are getting some special visitors this holiday season: kids coming to read to them.

Kids Make a Quiet Difference for Shelter Animals

Can I Read to You? is an after-school reading program run by Jennifer Waterman, who is a third-
grade teacher at Hernando Elementary School. Every other Thursday kids show up with their parents or guardians to conduct an hour-long story time for dogs and cats staying at the shelter.

“I’ve always seen programs like this online on Facebook and things like that,” says Jennifer, “and I
thought it would be really good if we had something like that here.”

The story time is helping both kids who are reluctant readers and pets who need some one-on-one
attention. “One of the best things is that when they come here to read to the pets, there’s no
judgement there,” explains Jennifer. “No one is going to be correcting you on any mistakes you’re
making. The pet is going to just be there listening.”

Jennifer says studies done on reading programs like this around the country have shown kids
reading to pets make the animals more adoptable.

“It helps the pet get used to having people around and particularly, it helps them get used to having
kids around,” says Jennifer. “It’s really taken off,” she adds, “the kids are loving it, the parents are
loving it and I think the pets are loving it too.”

“This is so good for these dogs and cats,” say’s Citrus County Animal Shelter Director Colleen
Yarbrough. “Just having a child sit with them makes such a big difference to their well-being.”
For more information contact Citrus County Animal Services at (352) 746-8400.


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