Got any old audiobook CDs? This RSPCA branch wants to play them to the dogs

RSPCA Stubbington Ark is appealing for audiobook CDs to play for dogs in the kennels because it soothes them.

That’s right, the canines in their care have story times, and staff at the branch – which operates Stubbington Ark Animal Centre in Hampshire – would like the local’s donations to keep it going.

Charlotte Jones, behaviour and welfare specialist at the centre, said: ‘We’re looking for audiobook CDs to play over our sound system in our kennels. We recently started a reading club – where volunteers come to read to the dogs in our kennels – and it’s been really beneficial and helps them relax in what can be quite a difficult environment.

‘We had the idea to play audiobooks over our sound system as we think this will help the dogs relax. We’ve been playing The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe but it’s quite animated and can be a bit shouty, so it’s not ideal for the dogs. We’re really after calm and soothing stories that will help them relax. 

‘We’re happy to try anything from Agatha Christie novels to children’s stories, although one of our volunteers has found spy novels to be particularly popular with our pups.

‘So if you have any audiobooks buried in a drawer somewhere, please drop it into the centre, so we can give it a try and see if our four-legged residents are fans.’

Story time at the kennel started with volunteer Susan started reading spy novels to one of the centre’s long-stay dogs about six months ago.

The rest of the team soon realised that all the dogs in the kennel block responded well to her reading, so they slowly introduced story time across the whole centre.

Volunteers will hand out snacks to the dogs, and they’ll settle in for the calming story.

Lots of RSPCA centres make use of their kennel sound systems, with some opting for classical music to help keep the pooches calm. 

RSPCA dog welfare expert and behaviourist Esme Wheeler said: ‘Several studies have shown that auditory stimulation can have an effect on the physiology and behaviour of dogs in rehoming and rescue environments and, at least in the short term, it is suggested that classical music may be beneficial in helping reduce stress for dogs in kennels.

‘Although more research needs to be undertaken to fully understand why this type of music appears to be beneficial, playing classical music at low levels is one of the many methods which we use to help dogs cope whilst they are in our care.

‘We all chat to our dogs and it’s often found that speaking to them with calm and soothing voices can relax them so playing relaxing audiobooks to dogs sounds like a wonderful idea to help the residents at The Ark.’

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