Berks ARL participates in Petco Love’s ‘read and share your love’ event, inspiring children to read to shelter pets

In advance of National Kids and Pets Day, nonprofit Petco Love is rallying kids across the country together to share their love with shelter pets, reading Kristin Chenoweth’s inspiring book “What Will I Do with My Love Today?”.

The Animal Rescue League of Berks County joined Petco Love, Tony and Emmy award winning actress and performer Chenoweth, and 50 animal welfare organizations across the nation for this “Read & Share Your Love” event, hosting little animal lovers in their shelter last Saturday, April 23, 2022.

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The events empowered children to practice their reading skills and put their love into action, increasing public awareness of saving pet lives through adoption, kindness, and volunteering.

Chenoweth’s new tale, perfect for children ages four to eight, celebrates the power of kindness and pet adoption. The inspiring book highlights the ‘made for each other’ adoption of Chenoweth’s rescue dog, Thunder.

A vocal advocate for pet adoption, her message that “extra love in your heart and your home is waiting for someone who’s all alone” aligns perfectly with Petco Love’s goal to harness the power of love to propel pet adoption into the national spotlight. The book advocates, “adoption means family, and family’s forever.”

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“The ARL is proud to participate in this national effort to encourage children to read and share their love with our pets,” commented Alexis Pagoulatos, CEO of The Animal Rescue League of Berks County.

Photo courtesy of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County.

“In 2013 we created the Book Buddies Program at the ARL which allowed children to read to the cats under our care. Cats provide a non-judgmental and enthusiastic audience as they are soothed by the rhythmic sounds of the children reading stories. We are excited to start bringing this program back as we open back up after the pandemic.”

In addition to pet adoption, the theme of Chenoweth’s first picture book is helping others in your community. In keeping with that theme, the book from Tommy Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, was donated to 50 participating animal welfare organizations by Petco Love and the publisher.

Studies show that reading books to dogs and cats in the shelter helps calm and socialize pets and increase their chances of adoption. It is also proven to help children gain confidence reading out loud as animals are non-judgmental listeners.

Photo courtesy of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County.

Susanne Kogut, President of Petco Love, offered “Seeing the relationship between a child and a pet is magical, it’s pure love. I hope Kristin’s message ‘What Will I Do With My Love Today?’ inspires children and families to put their love into action for pets in need nationwide. Bringing pets and children together will make the world a better place as pets are a positive influence on a child’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. 3 It’s a mutually beneficial, unconditional friendship.”

During the event, children had the opportunity to create feather toys for the cats they were reading to.

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