Dogs are integral to the social fabric of our lives. San Francisco’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has been a leader in the humane treatment of animals since 1868, with a mission to “save and protect animals, provide care and treatment, advocate for their welfare and enhance the human animal bond.”
Last spring, Hamlin parent Joseph Boothby offered an opportunity for our students to work closely with the SPCA and their Puppy Dog Tales program. The program is for first graders who are learning to read, and offers a non-judgmental setting to cultivate literacy skills, while bonding with a trained dog. Reading to a dog does not produce the same anxiety as reading to a peer or an adult, and the social emotional safety allows for students to practice, while ultimately fostering a love of books.
Today the program continued as students had the opportunity to read and spend time with a dog accompanied by SPCA volunteer, Debra Greenstein. Hamlin girls were visited by Sophie (a 10-year old Maltese) and Baci (a 3-year old Shih Tzu), both girl dogs. The dogs are Canine Good Citizen certified and were chosen for their even temperament and ability to be easily trained. I asked Ms. Greenstein what she liked best about her volunteer work. She stated, “Dogs, kids, books, it doesn’t get better than that.”
Here is a video of the Hamlin girls reading to the dogs:
To learn more about the SPCA’s Puppy Dog Tales program, please visit: https://www.sfspca.org/get-involved/volunteer/animal-asst-therapy/puppy-dog-tales