Arlington’s Kiddies Paws 2 Read Program Encourages Summer Reading

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Romeo, a therapy dog visiting the Arlington Animal Services Center, wagged his tail and patiently waited for young siblings Hudson and Aspen to turn the page and practice reading aloud from the children’s book, “Mother Bruce.”

Although he may not have understood the story, Romeo appreciated the extra attention he was given by the Arlington brother and sister and other children participating in Arlington Animal Services’ new Kiddies Paws 2 Read program.

The Kiddies Paws 2 Read program is designed to help elementary age children learn patience and confidence and to improve their skills by reading books out loud to shelter volunteers and to dogs available for adoption at the Animal Services Center. In addition to practicing reading, participants also learn about responsible pet ownership and what to do when meeting an unfamiliar animal.

Leah Brady was among parents whose children participated in a recent Kiddies Paws 2 Read event.

“This was an extremely educational event for my daughter Mallory and for myself,” Brady said. “We have a dog at home and we will definitely be practicing our reading skills with him.”

Kiddies Paws 2 Read is open to all elementary age students who live in Arlington and who attend public, private or home schools. The program aligns with the Arlington City Council priority Support Quality Education.

“My daughter Adriana is a curious five year old and already loves to read, but this program enhances her independent reading skills,” said mom Chelsea Contreras.

Registration is full for the two upcoming July events but Arlington Animal Services plans to make Kiddies Paws 2 Read an annual summer program for the shelter pets and local students.

“I want to give a special thanks to the volunteers who helped us launch the Kiddies Paws 2 Read program. Our goal is to encourage youth in The American Dream City to enjoy reading while also learning what it takes to be responsible pet owners,” Animal Services Manager Chris Huff said.