Reading to pets for good cause

Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Roughly a dozen dogs, felines and a puppy enjoyed the soothing rhymes of “Goodnight Moon,” and pats on the head by several preschool and elementary school-aged children Friday during the summertime program “Fairy Tails & Fur,” held at the Lunenburg County Animal Shelter. Accompanying them were parents who also represented teachers of Kenbridge Elementary School and Victoria Elementary School. Picture books and chapter books were spread out near the entrance of the shelter. Children could take a seat outside and read to a dog, or retreat to enjoy the shade indoors, sitting on blankets.

Participants with Apex Day Support Services LLC, based in Charlotte Court House, attend each week and also picked up books to read to pets. Organizer Sarah Aubel, also a teacher with Kenbridge Elementary School, said the readings, in its third year, provide benefits for children, the animal shelter and area businesses. Children, at the end of the event, were given goody bags with a box of crayons, candies and an apple provided by Twigs and Berries. Aubel said this coming Friday, the Victoria Public Library and Ripberger Public Library will partner to provide books and other activities for tots, in addition to dog treats and other items provided by the Lunenburg Animal Hospital. July 27, the last Friday that the Fairy Tails & Fur event will take place, will have Commonwealth Dentistry provide information and books about teeth and dental health.

“It provides reading for our kids, and attention and hopefully adoption for our pets,” Aubel said, who noted pets have been adopted following these events. Aubel said the organization is seeking to build a sidewalk path adjacent to the outdoor end of the kennels. Tentatively titled “Fairy Tails & Fur Yellow Brick Road”, Aubel said the sidewalk will make it easier for the animal shelter employees to clean the kennels, and be easier for kids and adults to see, and read, to the animals.

She said the shelter will also accept donations for pet food, litter, towels and blankets. Ann(e) Holder, a teacher with Victoria Elementary School, said the event gives children in the community a place to explore and grow for a good cause. “I think it’s a great opportunity for our community to come together and support the animal shelter,” Holder said.

Ashley Pawlik, speech therapist at Kenbridge Elementary School, said the event offers an integral opportunity for children to master their reading skills when summer can often be a time where intellectual stimulation falls by the wayside. “Reading is so crucial to kids’ growing vocabulary,” Pawlik said. Greg Pawlik, who attended the event with Ashley and daughter Ruby, said the event offers important experiences in other ways.

“It’s important for kids to be able to relate with animals,” Greg said.

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” Greg said about the event.