Human Animal Bond in Tennessee (H.A.B.I.T.) is an organization in Knox County, Tennessee using dogs in an interesting way. They are is using dogs to help increase the reading ability of children. Pet owners in the program bring in therapy dogs that are specially trained to sit on the floor and children as young as four read to the dogs out loud. The children even compete to get close to the dog so that they can get the most attention. The dog also works to create a bond that help the students feel more comfortable with dogs.
The program was stared in the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in the city of Knoxville. The dogs in this program are trained for this kind of work. The dogs are considered therapy dogs and the company is a non-profit. The children get to learn and interact with safe dogs that are trained to behave around humans. These canines do this by sitting quietly and listening. Either in the middle of a group of screaming kids or in a one-on-one setting.
H.A.B.I.T. got a lot of attention recently when Jennifer Wright and “Vegas” were covered in a television news story. Together they started the Ruff Reading Program, a program run by H.A.B.I.T., for the afterschool classes at the Pond Gap School helping small children with their reading.