You may have heard it said that talking to plants and flowers helps them grow. I've never tried this myself. MythBusters did, and sound can indeed make a difference to your horticultural efforts.
Talking to animals can also help them grow, it seems.
It's been brought to my attention that an animal shelter in Missouri is having kids come in and read to the stray dogs. The idea is to relax the dogs and help them feel less anxious in a new home.
This is such an adorable and admirable thing.
Even before we get to the bit about dogs – hey, children reading! From actual paper books! That's nothing short of a miracle. Some of them are teenagers, who have miraculously been dragged away from Tumblr posts about cats in bread to talk to real life animals.
Reading out loud is also 'a good thing' (TM). This story has reminded me that I haven't read something out loud for a while now. If you want to become a more confident speaker, a dog is not going to call you out on your many 'um's or the way you say 'tomato'. Dogs won't judge you. (Cats, probably, but not dogs. Cats are frequently scathing in their feedback. Don't read to a cat.)
By hearing a human voice, the dogs become more accustomed to being around people. And a child patiently reading away shows that humans can be calm, unlike some of their former owners. Not that I think any future owners would keep up the daily reading habit, mind.
The kids are trained to understand when a dog is scared or nervous. That ability to pick up on body language and other cues is bound to be helpful for life in general. So everyone's developing their social skills here.
Once dogs are more comfortable in human company, they're much more likely to be adopted. And they won't be as fussy or defensive when they get to their new home. Everybody wins!
I like the idea, but I can't join in. An allergy to animal fur prevents me from rocking up in Battersea with a copy of 'Far From The Madding Crowd'. I might have to finally get a houseplant.