Hartley Perry reads to a kitty at Palmetto Animal League’s adoption center.

Summer reading takes on new meaning for animal loving kids. The Beaufort County Library System and Palmetto Animal League are teaming up to give summer readers a fun new option: Parents and guardians can now bring their children to PAL’s Adoption Center to read to adoptable pets.

“Time spent with families is good for shelter pets and, as you can see, the kids are loving it,” said PAL Adoption Specialist Sally Dawkins.

Not only does this program make reading fun and meaningful, but it also gives animal-loving kids an opportunity to actively help homeless pets. 

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Angie Brown, Bluffton Branch Library circulation supervisor. “The cats get socialized and the kids get to practice their reading skills, which we hope will increase their love of books and encourage them to become even more compassionate toward animals in need.”

A child’s summer reading assignments can make a shelter pet’s day and also bring books to life for younger kids. 

“It’s really adorable to see how these reading sessions unfold,” Dawkins said. “A brother and sister came to PAL to read in a room full of kittens. It was touching to watch as the older brother helped his younger sister with larger words as they read together to their furry audience.”

The program is PAL’s own Reading to the Rescue outreach, and is part of the Library’s far broader Tails for Tales program.

“The response here in the Lowcountry has been heartwarming,” Brown said. “Not only have families been reading at the PAL Adoption Center, but they have also been making DIY toys for the animals.”

When parents bring their children to read at PAL, the Beaufort County Library System is encouraging them to consider bringing a donation for the adoptable pets. The staff at PAL put together a special list of items the animals really love and need this summer, including Friskies Cat Pate, Purina Cat Chow, Purina Kitten Chow, kitten wet food, KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer), Miracle Nipples, Purina Dog Chow, Authority Puppy Chow, cat and dog toys, and cat and dog beds. In addition, blankets, laundry detergent, hand soap, and printer paper are needed on an on-going basis.

If your child is interested in reading to some adoptable pets, contact the Bluffton Branch of the Beaufort County Library System to sign up for their summer reading program. Then, email Sally@PalmettoAnimalLeague.org to schedule a visit to Palmetto Animal League’s No Kill Adoption Center, located at 56 Riverwalk Blvd. in Okatie.

Lindsay Perry is the marketing coordinator for Palmetto Animal League. PalmettoAnimalLeague.org