Animal Assisted Activities
Some of our most unique volunteers are the four legged ones. Animal Assisted Activity Teams at the Sonoma Humane Society make an impact on so many lives in our community with a simple tail wag, gentle paw or wet kiss. Teams of dogs and their people are on the road visiting hospitals, nursing homes, Alzheimer''s facilities, schools, libraries and many locations throughout the County spreading love and joy to those who anxiously await their visits.
Want to Join our Team?
If you have a dog that might be a great candidate for our Animal Assisted Activities program, we'd love to meet you. Animal Assisted Activities Dogs and their handlers must complete a 6 week training class which includes the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test and certification and observation in the therapy setting for therapy specific behaviors. Additional training may be required during your tenure as a Sonoma Humane Society Animal Assisted Activity volunteer team. For more details, email Beth Karzes.
Read to a Dog
Libraries are quiet spaces where both children and adults can research a topic or find a good story, but when children or adults visit a library and see a dog, the environment may become a little more exciting.
The Read to a Dog program encourages children to read by providing a non-judgmental listener and furry friend to read to that won’t laugh at them if they make a mistake or stumble over a word, but rather lies next to them and enjoys the story being read to them. The children learn to associate reading with being with the dog, and begin to view reading in a positive way. Over time, a child’s reading ability and confidence can improve because he/she is practicing the skills, which will make reading more enjoyable.
Benefits of Reading to a Dog
- Dogs don’t judge, laugh or criticize
- Dogs allow children to proceed at their own pace
- Dogs reduce anxiety and are less intimidating than peers
- Dogs increase interest and motivation in reading
- Dogs help students gain confidence and self esteem
- Dogs provide companionship and friendship while learning something new
- Dogs can help students improve decoding, vocabulary, reading fluency and comprehension skills by making reading relaxing, fun and furry!
At your Local Library
Children of all ages, pre-readers to high school students have the chance to spend some quality time sharing the joy of books, reading and dogs.
Sonoma County Library’s Central Branc
211 E Street, Santa Rosa, CA • View Map
(707) 545-0831 ext.538
Saturdays 11am - 12pm
Sonoma County Library’s Sebastopol Branch
7140 Bodega Ave, Sebastopol, CA • View Map
Wednesdays 3PM – 4PM year-round
Healdsburg Center for Animals
555 Westside Road @ Bacchus Landing Way, Healdsburg • View Map
Every 4th Saturday of the month 1 – 2pm
At Your School
We support elementary students in our local public schools by placing certified pet assisted therapy dog teams in classrooms to cultivate a joy of reading that improves their reading skills.
Animal Assisted Activity Dogs and their handlers must complete a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test in addition to our therapy dog screening which may include additional training and observation in the therapy setting.
Dog owners, learn more about certifying your dogs for the Read to a Dog Program.
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
— Helen Keller
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
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