North Country Animal League is excited to launch the NCAL Reading Buddies program on Saturday, March 25! Reading Buddies is created specifically for children ages 6-12 as a means to help socialize and provide much needed one-on-one attention for our shy or lonely shelter animals, while also inspiring a love of reading in children, as these children read for purpose of helping animals in need. NCAL wishes to thank the Vermont Community Foundation for the support that they provided to develop and launch Reading Buddies. The program was inspired by the Shelter Buddies Program at the Humane Society of Missouri, a similar program designed to connect kids with animals through reading.

Reading Buddies will mutually benefit children and animals alike. By means of fostering empathy and compassion in children, as well as developing reading skills, students will bring comfort to and reduce anxiety animals may experience within the shelter environment. Children can expect a non-biased reading audience within a comfortable and relaxed setting. While improving accuracy, speed, and confidence in reading, as well as empathy toward animals amongst children- the animals will gain socialization and trust.  

Preceding reading hours children will attend a required 90-minute Training session with a parent/guardian, the first of which will be held at NCAL Saturday, March 25th from 1-2:30pm. To understand the perspective of the animals in a shelter environment, children will learn to read the animals body language in order to properly adjust their own behavior while visiting the shelter. The training session will also provide the opportunity for children and parents/guardians to tour the facility, explore available resources, and become familiar with the sign-in process. Upon completion of the training session, participants will be given a schedule of available reading hours and can come read to the animals for as little or as long as they would like during these designated hours.

Reading times will be available 5 days a week. Children are welcome to bring their own books, or select one from our growing library! The cost of this program is FREE, though donations are always welcome. Participants will be required to wear closed-toed, rubber-soled shoes in order to properly protect readers and ensure proper traction while walking through kennels.

We look forward to welcoming young readers to the shelter to help bring comfort and needed attention to our many animals! For more information about NCAL’s Reading Buddies program, and to register for an upcoming training session, CLICK HERE!




Preregistration for Training sessions is required: Limited space available.Visit, or call (802) 888-5065 x 101