Medical studies have linked pet care to better exercise habits, lower blood pressure and improved psychological health in humans. Even simply petting a dog can provide the soothing conditions to lower heart rates and reduce stress. Now, pet experts are saying that having a dog in the house may help small children learn how to read.
Kathy Klotz, director of Intermountain Therapy Animals – a nonprofit organization that specializes in animal-assisted physical, occupational and speech therapy – has begun a new nationwide program called Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ).
The organizer based her program on the belief that children who are new readers may feel judged or intimidated by human listeners, and can benefit from a supportive, passive friend, CNN reports.
"One factor that turned out to be really important, is that the child feels like they’re letting the dog understand the story," Klotz told the news source. "They get to be the teacher, the storyteller, the one who knows more than the dog for a change."
While humans continue to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association says that veterinary pet insurance can be used to protect pet health and ensure the financial stability of the pet’s family.