Seattle, WA – Service dogs have it good in Seattle where they are a key component in helping once homeless children improve their reading skills. These at-risk children have the perfect enticement to sit down and read a book; the company of dogs that just want to keep them company. Once a week these service dogs visit the Brettler Family Place, a housing center in Seattle’s Sand Point neighborhood, lending their ears as twenty children prepare to read aloud, enhancing their reading skills and learning the importance of spending time with books!
This program not only benefits the children, but the dogs as well, as they are more than happy to be the reason the children want to sit down and read a book. It fosters companionship as well as an education and gives the children a sense of stability and reduces their stress levels of having been moved from shelter to shelter.
Every Monday night the children and the dogs settle down with their books and spend an evening of hugging, petting, lounging, and most importantly, reading. “This is exactly what the kids need,” according to Joanna Tarr, children’s case manager at the non-profit Solid Ground that manages the housing facility. “The kids are always willing to read, whereas sometimes they don’t want to do the reading, they want someone to read to them,” she says. “The amount of time they sit here for an hour reading is amazing, just to have that concentration and that amount of time. And then just the calmness of it really relaxes them.”
The program started about six months ago and is proving to be an essential part in helping both the children and the dogs. Take a look at the video to see how amazing the program truly is and how it impacts the lives of these once homeless children: