Friends of the Colusa County Animal Shelter brought canine comfort teams together with children on Saturday to promote literacy and love for animals.
PAWS to READ, which was held at the Colusa Library on July 27, was the second canine reading program in about five years, although FOCCAS hopes to make it a monthly event, said member Pam Dagrossa, animal control officer.
PAWS to READ was inspired by local humane societies because the benefits of reading to animals have been documented to include increased reading fluency in children and improved attitudes about reading aloud.
“There are a lot of reading programs for children to read to dogs,” Dagrossa said. “They don’t judge and they make kids feel comfortable.”
Saturday’s PAWS to READ was also an opportunity for children and their parents to learn that shelter dogs make great pets, said Chris Jacobs, a FOCCAS member who has adopted and fostered many shelter animals over the years.
Jacobs brought Truman, a purebred Great Pyrenees, who adored the kids and enjoyed being read to and petted.
“He was excited to come,” said Jacobs, who gave Truman, who originally came to the shelter ill and underweight, a permanent home. “He likes everyone.”
Alondra Melendrez, 7, and brother Adrian, 9, who typically read at the Arbuckle Library, were among several youth reading to Truman and Josie, a boxer mix at the PAWS to READ.
“My brother really wanted to read to dogs so we asked our mom and she said ‘yes,’” Alondra said. “It’s a lot of fun and you get to pet the dogs.”
Children had a variety of library books to choose from, including “Just Me and My Puppy,” by Mercer Mayer, which was Adrian’s favorite, “Pippo” by Helen Oxenbury, “Scruff” by Gerald Rose, and many others about our canine friends.
FOCCAS hopes to rotate the event throughout the library branches in the future, Dagrossa said. ■