Children of all ages read to dogs that reside at the St. Joseph Animal Control and Rescue shelter for a first-time event known as Deck the Howls.
The idea came from the Humane Society of Missouri, but it also was the kickoff event for St. Joseph, because the animal shelter plans to have children read to their animals in the future on a semi-annual basis.
Jennifer Lockwood, humane educator for the shelter, felt the night was successful with over 20 children who participated in reading bedtime stories.
“We had cookie decorating, we had ornament making, (kids) read to the dogs and the cats,” Lockwood said. “It was a really fun night.”
Deck the Howls was held all over Missouri at multiple animal shelters, and some kids even dressed up in holiday attire or pajamas.
The Rolling Hills Library donated 30 books for the night including multiple reading levels. The kids changed their voices to become the characters and showed off the illustrations to their audience.
If the event continues for the next five years it could be housed at the new home for the shelter located at Mitchell Woods on Corporate Drive. The Friends of the Animal Shelter is raising half the money and the second half comes from the Capital Improvements Program.
The Friends of the Animal Shelter were at Deck the Halls and besides dressing some dogs in Christmas-themed sweaters, they also made hot chocolate to reward the kids when they finished reading.
Lockwood said a couple families, and one employee of the Rolling Hills Library, inquired about adopting some pets during the event.