If you’ve ever helped save an animal, you know just how rewarding it can be. Whether you’re carrying out a spider that someone was about to squish, or taking your new rescue dog home form the shelter, you know the amazing feeling.
Some people who are all too aware of that warm fuzzy feeling are the volunteers at The Alice Sanctuary in Alberta, Canada.
The sanctuary has a focus on rescuing farm animals, and encouraging volunteers to help the animals and themselves by being involved in the healing process.
They have pigs, goats, sheep, ducks, mini horses, chickens, cows and anything you might find on a farm. Although you’d think that farm animals don’t need rescuing, they are sometimes found in even worse conditions than would be a stray dog.
The sanctuary has many programs, the cutest of which involves child volunteers reading to the rescue animals who need company the most.
[H/T: The Dodo]
The Alice sanctuary began a program inspired by one of their injured pigs.
They noticed that he couldn’t move, and needed to be entertained.
Pigs might not understand human language, but they’re smart and affectionate creatures, and they get bored easily.
Leslie Gould, a volunteer explains to the Dodo, “The idea started to blossom back in December when one of our big Yorkshire pigs, Oliver, hurt his foot quite badly. He was on bed rest.”
“Pigs are very intelligent animals and since he couldn’t move, we had to get creative with how we kept him entertained.”
When people at the shelter began reading to Oliver to keep him entertained, the idea took off.
Volunteers realized that they could fulfill their mission to help volunteers and animals help each other by encouraging kids to read to the other animals.
It’s a powerful way to help socialize farm animals who don’t have a lot of positive history with humans.
Gentle, kind children are the perfect way to make a better impression.
The best part about this program, is that it helps keep the animals feeling occupied and in good company, and it encourages kids to learn how to read.
Kids who are unsteady readers will feel more confident practicing their skills with such a non-judgmental audience.
I know that I may have taken to reading a lot more easily if cute farm animals were involved.
The reading sessions are being held on Wednesdays, and as you can see, there is no shortage of volunteers.
The kids like it, and their new friends so much that they even dedicate artwork in their honor.
It’s incredible to see such mutually beneficial programs thriving, and keeping both our four legged and two legged friends happy, and literate.
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