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Tales for Tails offers kids chance to build skills, read to shelter dogs

Dawn J. Sagert
York Dispatch

No longer anxiously waiting for their turns to go for a walk, the dogs settled their somber and questioning eyes on the child seated before them, on the outside of the bars, reading books aloud in the calm of the afternoon.

“Typically, this is the time of day when they are really sleepy — which is perfect,” said Hannah Beard, the community outreach coordinator for the York County SPCA.

Beard passed by Tiffany Knaper, of York Township, who was looking on as her two sons, Lucas, 7, and Logan, 10, read their books of choice to seemingly contented canines.

“My son Logan is very into animals,” said Knaper. “For his birthday this last year, he asked for donations for the SPCA, instead of presents.”

Logan "is so excited to be doing this Tales for Tails program and can’t wait to come back every time they offer it,” she added.

Lucas Knaper, 7, of York Township, reads to Ray Ray, a young female terrier mix, during the Tales for Tails kickoff event at the York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. The organization hopes to hold the event twice a month. For more information, go to www.ycspca.org. Dawn J. Sagert

The idea for Tales for Tails was introduced by 8-year-old Mount Wolf resident Aubryn Godshall.

“I wanted to volunteer at shelters, but, everywhere, you had to be over 18,” she said.

Aubryn was frustrated, but determined. She decided that she wanted to start a program that allowed kids younger than 18 to volunteer.

“I wanted it to be interactive for dogs, and it would help kids with something, too,” Aubryn said.

Butter Scotch, an adoptable 2-year-old female pit bull, appeared interested during the Tales for Tails kickoff event at the York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. For more information, go to www.ycspca.org. Dawn J. Sagert

“You would pick a dog that you wanted to read to, you would pick a book and you would get to read to the dog, which would help the kids with their reading skills and the dogs with communication and helping them get homes,” she said.

Nora Gladfelter, 5, right, of Conewago Township, reads to bonded pair Tundra, a German shepherd mix, left, and Bentley, a beagle mix, during the Tales for Tails kickoff event at the York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. The organization hopes to hold the event twice a month for first- through sixth-graders to read to adoptable dogs. For more information go to: www.ycspca.org. Dawn J. Sagert

The program is open to children in first through sixth grade at this time. The SPCA plans to offer the two-hour event twice a month, with the next one slated for Tuesday, Aug. 21, from 1-3 p.m. For more information, go to www.ycspca.org or visit the York County SPCA Facebook page.

Logan Knaper, 10, of York Township, reads to Mia, a black-and-white American Staffordshire terrier, during the Tales for Tails kickoff event at the York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. Mia is an 11-year-old female available for adoption. The SPCA hopes to hold the reading event twice a month. For more information, go to their website at www.ycspca.org. Dawn J. Sagert

Parents are encouraged to email Beard at hbeard@ycspca.org for information on how to sign up.

Pleased with the inaugural event attendance of about 40 kids, Aubryn encouraged others who share her passion for animals and volunteering to sign up.

“It would help the dogs and it would help you, so it’s kind of a win-win,” she said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story had Aubryn Godshall's last name spelled incorrectly. This story has been updated.

Butter Scotch, a 2-year-old adoptable female pit bull, looks on as Nick Icenroad, 10, of Springfield Township, one of about 40 first- through sixth-graders, reads aloud during the Tales for Tails kickoff event at the York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. The organization hopes to hold the event twice a month. For more information, go to their website at: www.ycspca.org. Dawn J. Sagert