Reading is challenging for many young students. Reading out loud can be stressful. Sometimes, all you need is a good listener, and I know where you can find one…

Did you know that pets can be a friend to a young reader? Reading to a pet is a safe environment for a child to practice reading. Pets never pass judgment. A child can stumble through a word, read at their own pace, or take a long time to read a passage. The pet is a happy, attentive listening companion. Over time, a child will begin to feel more comfortable reading aloud, thus building reading confidence and enjoyment.


Reading improves with reading aloud and practicing the same material over and over. Pets don’t mind if a child reads the same book, passage, or sentence twenty times. A pet will listen, giving gentle reassurance, and providing opportunities for kids to rack up lots of practice time.

Pets are also helped from the attention they receive. It gives kids a sense of purpose when they see the pet is benefiting from their kindness and attention through the act of reading.

At Second Chance, our Pets Turning Pages program has been going since 2014 in Ridgway, Ouray and Telluride public schools. Its purpose is bringing shelter pets into school classrooms for students to gain reading support as well as learn the power of the human-animal bond. 

The pandemic put classroom visits on hold, but we have slowly been bringing it back this year. Hopefully, this important community service will be back in full form in the fall, and we’d love to see it in the Montrose schools as well.

We recently learned of the passing of hero in our community and Pets Turning Pages. Chief was a welcome presence in Ridgway schools; showing up to hear kids read, get pets, and be an incredible example of canine good citizenship. 

Chief was adopted from Second Chance in December 2015, and quickly fell completely in love with his new family. He wanted to be with them always, and his gentle, loving nature extended to those in his neighborhood, on the trail, at the school. 



He not only visited Ridgway Elementary, but he also greeted customers at his dad’s ski shop. He was a big guy- 95 pounds of golden love. When he was in the school with his family’s grandma (and long-time Second Chance volunteer), Carol, kids would stop to pet him, lean against his big body, and read quietly to him in the classroom. Although Chief loved everyone, his devotion was strongest to his family. At school, he would walk the row of cubbies, and stop in front of his girl’s- smelling her coat and deciding to sit where she kept her things. 

Rest in peace, dear Chief. You truly made a difference.


Play with me! Run with me! Throw the ball! My name is Belle, and I’m a young Cattle Dog mix with flip-flop ears. I need a job to do, and someone who will enjoy my high energy personality. After I’m thoroughly exercised, I would be happy to have you read to me.Belle5.jpg

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 28 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: