Reading to Pets


Why read to animals?

First off, it’s adorable. Children reading books to cats, dogs, and small animals is very cute. There’s more than just cuteness that happens though; it’s the purring kitten, the wagging tail, and the smile on a young readers face. There’s a special comfortability that the animal and the child exchanges while a reading session is occurring- the animal receives much desired one-on-one time and the child receives no judgement or correction, just listening ears and a loving furry face.  Children and animals alike are learning to love reading.

Who can I read to?

Anyone! Most cats are excellent candidates for a reading buddy. Some of our cats can be a bit grumpy about being moved, but any staff member can help move a cat for you.  Small animals are located in the small yellow room near the newer dog kennels.  Please only remove small animals from their pens with the help of a staff member. Some dogs have better attention spans than others, so pay attention to which dogs are marked “low energy.”

Where can I read?

The biggest challenge to starting this program was finding a space for children to read. The conclusion: it’s more important to start the program now, then wait for millions of dollars of renovations later. Sometimes sharing spaces might be a good option. The cat colony is a lovely, mostly glass, sun room where many cats play and lounge.  You can sit outside or inside of dog kennels. The dogs also have pens outside, labeled “volunteer & adopter pens.”

What books do I read?

There is a small selection of books at CMHS.  Readers are encouraged to bring books from their school library or the Columbia Public Library.  The Central Missouri Humane Society is not responsible for any damage done to books or other reading supplies.

When can I come read?

The hours for Reading to Pets are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 - 3 PM.

Can a RTP volunteer become a regular CMHS volunteer?

Of course! Volunteers need to be at least 8 years old to volunteer with a parent and 16 to volunteer solo.

Is there a dress code?

Please wear close-toed shoes and pants when interacting with animals.

Is there a risk?

Yes. All animals can have a bad day and some can react poorly. Please understand that any time you interact with animals, it is always at your own risk. Children are not to be left unattended at any time while at CMHS. While we do our best to provide a safe selection of animals to interact with, we do want to make it clear that interacting with any animal is done so at your own risk.  The Central Missouri Humane Society is not responsible for any damages, injuries, or situations that might occur.  Please use proper precaution when handling any animals. If at any time, anyone is bitten or injured by an animal, please notify a staff member immediately.  If you interact with an animal who you feel should not be in the program, please notify [email protected]pets.org. Please be clear about why you think the animal should be disqualified from the program.