27 Jan 2022

Kildare animals in need: The artful Dodger helps kids to read

Kildare animals in need: The artful Dodger helps kids to read

Lucas and Lei with Dodger and Eli

We had a visit to our shelter this week from Lucas and Lei who live in Kilcullen with their dogs Dodger and Eli. They made a lovely donation of new collars and leads which we will sell at our upcoming Christmas Fair taking place on December 4 and 5, at the Heritage Centre Kilcullen.

The fair, which is called the Santa Paws and Mrs Claws Fair, will be open on Saturday from 11am to 4pm and on Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

Lucas and his beloved Dodger are part of a charity group that specialises in assisting young children to gain confidence in reading. This charity was set up in 2016 in Wales by a pet food company called Burns and has almost 70 volunteers across West Wales and the east coast of Ireland.

The owner John Burns is a vet and saw the affect that dogs can have in helping to develop social skills in young children.

The idea behind 'Burns By Your Side' is that if a child is a reluctant reader, a dog is a compassionate listener who doesn’t judge.

Reading to a dog creates an aura of calm, allowing children to feel at ease and communicate more effectively.

The dogs are assessed by the Irish Kennel Club for their suitability and each owner and dog goes through a training process.

Typically Lucas will bring Dodger, a Burnese Cross, along to a primary school and meet children who have dyslexia, shyness or may have a range of special needs.

The child selects a book of their choice and reads to the dog who sits close by. The dog's quiet, calm nature puts the child at ease and builds their confidence and communication skills.

Lucas said: “ You can actually see the child progressing each week and they develop a strong bond with the dog that they read to. If Dodger sees that a child is shy he will cuddle up beside the child”.

The wellbeing of the dog is very important and sessions with up to four or five children normally last an hour.

This is another great example of why we should cherish the goodness and the capability in dogs.

About Us

The Kildare & West Wicklow Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (KWWSPCA) is a Registered Charity which investigates and deals with reports of cruelty and neglect to animals, family pets, wild animals and birds, horses and ponies, throughout County Kildare and West Wicklow.

The Society is run entirely on a voluntary basis, there are no paid employees.

Charity Number, CHY 6280

Helpline: 087 1279835



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