Part of the mission of the Maryland SPCA is to educate people about respecting and taking care of animals and those lessons start at an early age.
The shelter has several programs to help foster kids' love for their furry friends.
One of those programs is Read and Tour, which falls under the umbrella of "Beyond the Classroom." Kids from Baltimore City schools come in to read to shelter dogs.
"It gives kids the opportunity to add on the things they’re learning in school by getting real life experience, meeting some of our animals, and learning about shelter care," said Katie Flory, who runs the Read and Tour program. "It also gives them the opportunity to practice their reading skills."
Before they read, the kids get a tour of the facility and learn about the entire process of when an animal is brought to the Maryland SPCA. Then they pull up a chair to a kennel and start reading.
"Our pets here are never going to judge anyone when it comes to reading," said Flory.
And the reading is not only beneficial to the kids. Flory says the dogs are more relaxed when the kids are here, many of them sitting quietly or even laying down in their kennels.
The Maryland SPCA also started a mentoring program with kids ages 13-17, which helps teens gain real-life job skills by working in the shelter.
"A lot of kids may think we just bring animals in and help them find news homes, and not necessarily understand everything that goes into it from point A to point B when it comes to admissions to adoption," Flory said.
ABC2 is partnering with the Maryland SPCA for this year's March for the Animals on April 24 at Druid Hill Park. For more information click here.