RSPCA appeals for ‘calm and soothing’ audiobooks to play to dogs

RSPCA Stubbington Ark is appealing for audiobooks to play in the kennels

The RSPCA is appealing to the public to donate audiobooks to play in the kennels and soothe the dogs.

RSPCA Solent Branch - which operates Stubbington Ark Animal Centre in Hampshire - has appealed to local people to drop off any audiobooks on CD that they’re no longer using. 

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 childrens’ stories to Harry Potter, 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!”

Volunteer Susan (pictured) started reading spy novels to one of the centre’s long-stay dogs around six months ago and the team soon realised that all of the dogs in the kennel block responded well to storytime - so they have slowly introduced it across the centre.

Volunteers will give out chews to the dogs before storytime so they have a nice snack to enjoy during the session. Long-stay Kobe (pictured) is one of the residents who enjoys a story. 

Lots of RSPCA centres have sound systems in their kennels and play classical music to the dogs to help keep them 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 audio books to dogs sounds like a wonderful idea to help the residents at The Ark.”

To help The Ark continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals please donate on its JustGiving page.

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