Children celebrate Fourth by reading to pets

Franklin County Humane Society holds first reading to pets program

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – This Fourth of July has been all about fireworks, good food and good books for some children in Franklin County.

Dozens of children spent part of their holiday reading to cats and dogs at the Franklin County Humane Society.

"I think it's a good experience for the children," said Anita Scott, director of the Franklin County Humane Society. "Sometimes they may have trouble reading, and the cats and the dogs are not going to judge them. So it gives them some time to hone in on their skills for the summer and gives that extra enrichment and socialization for the pets."

Shelter staff and volunteers said this is the first time they have done something like this. One volunteer said the idea came from a social media post they saw.

"If you're struggling, if you're a new reader, if you're learning, reading to pets is a really excellent opportunity to learn, and it's beneficial both ways," sad Jennifer Fleisher, a volunteer.

Thursday's program not only gave children a chance to practice reading; volunteers hoped it would also help calm the animals before all of the noise from Fourth of July fireworks.

They said this is also a way to introduce families to the adoptable pets at the Humane Society.

"I think sometimes when they really get to sit down and spend some quiet time with these animals, they realize that they may actually want to take them home," Fleisher said.

Some libraries in Southwest Virginia have held similar reading to animals programs. 

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