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Relationships and reading skills: Local fourth graders read to dogs

Posted at 10:50 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 21:08:49-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Instead of spending his school day being read to, Grant Martin and his fourth grade class took the reading to the dogs.

“They're just the sweetest,” says Grant.

This group of students from Wealthy Elementary spent their Wednesday reading to the animals at the Humane Society of West Michigan.

It started as a fourth-grade flea market selling homemade goods for a couple bucks, raising money for charities.

And Grant Martin's charity, Bissell Pet Foundation, was picked.

“So we're donating money for all the cats and dogs and rabbit,” Grant told us. “They [Bissell] supply all the shelters all over the United States with supplies and for all the cats and dogs and give, like, medical care while they're there and help them get adopted."

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“Just happy tears of, you know, just all joy,” says Brittany Schlacter. “It's so great to see children interact with pets and learn how to interact properly because that's so important.”

It benefits both the students and the pets, who can become more social by having children read to them, fostering their adoptability.

“I have heard many times walking through the hall that this was the greatest day of school ever,” says Amy Heddy with the Humane Society of West Michigan. She says these kids are at a critical age for this type of experience.

“Humane education is vital for their, like, empathy, creating empathy and learning how to approach animals and how to treat their own pets at home."

Grant knows — he has two golden retrievers at home and hopes these animals find theirs too.

“Every dog and cat should have the same treatment and they should all, like, get a home and have good owners,” says Grant.

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