Little Shelter has introduced a “Reading Program” into five local Elementary Schools. Dogs that were originally adopted from Little Shelter have been specially trained to become “Reading Assistant Dogs."
The dogs work with students who show stress and anxiety toward reading in a traditional classroom. This is a literacy program that also helps to develop social skills. We work with 110 students weekly.
Little Shelter is proud to be the first shelter to provide such a powerful resource to students on Long Island.
The same dog and handler go to the same school weekly. The students come into a non-judgmental setting and sit on a blanket on the floor. It is difficult to feel stress or anxiety when the dog is licking your face or looking up at you adoringly while you read. As the relationship between the student and the dog grows, the child’s confidence and self esteem grows and stress and anxiety just melt away. A relationship between the student and the handler also develops. The students stay in the program for as long as it takes for them to reach the goals that the school has set for them.
The rewards for the students are academic and social in nature, the reward for the dog is pure love. It is incredible to see the changes in these wonderful young people and to realize that this was accomplished by a four legged furry friend.