Arlington

Is there anything cuter than kids reading to puppies? You decide

Program brings kids and dogs together for story time

Children had the opportunity to read to dogs at Arlington Animal Services as part of their new program Paws to Read. The program hopes strengthen reading skills while providing socialization to the shelter animals at the same time.
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Children had the opportunity to read to dogs at Arlington Animal Services as part of their new program Paws to Read. The program hopes strengthen reading skills while providing socialization to the shelter animals at the same time.

Kids and their parents arrived at the Arlington animal shelter Wednesday morning, some with books in hand, excited to meet some puppies waiting to be adopted.

The children, ranging in age from 4 to 12, showed up at the shelter to read to puppies. Chris Huff, the animal services manager, led them through the shelter to the play yards, where the children sat on dog beds and read to the animals. The shelter provided books like “My Dog’s the Best,” “Clifford: The Dog Who Cried Woof” and “101 Dalmatians.”

“We’ve found that some kids have trouble reading in front of people and reading aloud,” Huff said. “Having them read to dogs lets them practice reading aloud without being embarrassed when they have trouble with a word or stumble.”

It’s also good for the dogs, Huff said. With the shelter full, she said a lot of the dogs need some extra attention, and the affection children show is good for the puppies.

The event was so popular this year that some children were placed on a wait list and others were turned down, Huff said. So the shelter is considering a weeklong event next year.

Huff said the shelter is working to free up space that gets taken up during “kitten and puppy season” by having adoption specials. The shelter will host an adoption fair Aug. 17, with vendors, a dunking game and discounted vaccinations for pets.

The shelter will also offer 150 free microchips, 60 free heartworm tests and 10 free rabies vaccinations. All pets will be $25 to adopt.

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James Hartley is the Arlington city government reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is passionate about local politics, true stories, movies and baseball. He has worked for the Tyler Morning Telegraph, D Magazine and the Dallas Observer. You can connect with James on Twitter @ByJamesHartley or Instagram @JamesTakesPhotos. Want reporters like James to help you stay informed about your community? You can help the Star-Telegram continue to offer great local, political, sports and culture news by purchasing a digital or print subscription today.
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