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Children 'paws' to read with therapy dogs

Forsyth County libraries and Humane Hearts Therapy animals partner together to help children with learning anxiety.

CUMMING, Ga. — A recently published study funded by The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), found that children experiencing stress who then interact with therapy dogs benefit from improved mood and reduced anxiety.

Humane Hearts Pet Therapy, alongside Forsyth County libraries, is working together using this concept to help area children "paws to read." The project was created to provide children who struggle to read with a reduced stress learning environment.

Forsyth County Library Informational Specialist Amy Szvetecz says that they began the "Paws to Read" event in 2012 and has seen continuous positive results.

"The children end up reading longer when they’re with the therapy dog than they would if they were with an adult," she explained. "Dogs don’t judge. They don’t correct. They don’t get impatient.”

Credit: WXIA

The event takes place at each of the five county branches once a month. Parents are able to sign their children up for a 15 minute time slot to sit and read with a therapy animal. 

The next "Paws to Read" event will be held next Wednesday, Aug. 28 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Sharon Forks Library location.

Credit: WXIA

Humane Hearts Pet Therapy is an extension of the Humane Society of Forsyth County. Originating in 1988, Humane Hearts Pets are owned by people who want to volunteer to enrich the lives of special groups within the local community.

Credit: WXIA

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