Shelter Me: Community Matters

Shelter Me: Community Matters (Episode 7)

Last May, I shared with you Episode 6 from the “Shelter Me” series. And recently, I was given the opportunity to watch the latest episode of the national PBS show “Shelter Me: Community Matters”.

Created by filmmaker Steven Latham, hosted by animal welfare icon Dr. Jane Goodall, and presented by the Petco Foundation, the latest installment of “Shelter Me” focuses on when communities come together to help animals in need.

While cats are only a small part of this particular “Shelter Me” episode, I believe it is well worth the watch for any animal lover. So today, I would like to share with you “Shelter Me: Community Matters”.


The episode starts with a group of teen volunteers who read to shelter pets through STAMP (Sacramento Teen and Animal Membership Program) at an open admissions shelter.

volunteer reading to shelter cat | “Shelter Me: Community Matters”

The program started with teens reading to dogs, but soon they opened it to cats as well. I asked why they chose to incorporate cats into STAMP. Laura Delight, STAMP Teen Program coordinator, said:

“Honestly, we chose to incorporate cats because one of our STAMP-ers asked us if they could read to a cat that caught their eye earlier in the meeting while they were in the shelter doing chores. Up until then, we had focused primarily on dogs, but since that day, we have always had at least a small group choose to read to kitties.”

Laura went on to say, “It’s great because while the volunteers do a good job of getting most adoptable dogs out each day, it’s really hard to socialize the volume of cats we usually have, and this helps calm the cats tremendously.”

volunteer reading to shelter cat | “Shelter Me: Community Matters”

Running with Shelter Dogs

The next part of the “Shelter Me: Community Matters” episode follows a high school cross country team in Santa Maria, California that uses their practice time to take shelter dogs for out for a run. Not only does it benefit the dogs and get them out of their kennels, but it also brings visibility to the dogs, urging people to consider adopting from the shelter.

Shelter Dogs Against Poaching

Finally, in the primary story of this episode, viewers learn how Working Dogs for Conversation (WD4C), a non-profit organization based in Montana, trains shelter dogs to help battle elephant and rhino poaching in Africa. Vicka, the former stray dog that we follow during the episode, learns to search for ivory and firearms, alerting her trainer and helping to put an end to poaching.

Follow Up: “Shelter Me: Hearts & Paws”

Episode 6, that I wrote about earlier is available now for free viewing along with other previous episodes of the series at So, if you missed it on TV, be sure to check it out online. “Shelter Me: Hearts & Paws” featured Cat Town Café in Oakland and also followed comic strip creator Patrick McDonnell as he spent several days at a shelter.

MUTTS comic creator Patrick McDonnell
Photo Credit: Stacey Axelrod

Shelter Me: Community Matters” is presented by the Petco Foundation. Pictured here is MUTTS comic creator Patrick McDonnell at one of the Petco Foundation “Love Changes Everything” adoption events in NYC that was held this past weekend. Celebratory events kicked-off the Petco Foundation’s national campaign that runs from March 4th through April 2nd and aims to raise more than $3.1 million to support animal welfare organizations across the nation. Learn more at

You can check your local listings at to see when “Shelter Me: Community Matters” will be airing near you. Previous episodes are available to stream for free right now at!

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  1. Already bookmarked for later ;-)
    Reading to shelter cats is such a wonderful idea! I wonder if reading to Blackie would work, though. She is usually super anxious in the mornings and catnip doesn’t seem to do the trick anymore.

  2. Bear’s more interested to sleep on the book than to listen to the story … but this is a great idea. It seems like the perfect way to socialize cats without scaring them in ways they might perceive as confrontational!

  3. We’re glad to hear they’re incorpurratin’ kitties. Doggies get far too much of da “donation money”. We think it’s mostly cuz they be louder and more in your face. But we purray someday, cats get a fair and even shake when it comes to shelter monies and showings. Fanks fur sharin’.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena

  4. I love the idea of reading to shelter animals. We have a program like that here, too. I have a link to this episode, but haven’t watched it yet. I am really intrigued by the main story of the shelter dogs helping battle poachers.

  5. I just love that they devoted a segment to the importance of community in animal rescue and adoption. And I have always loved the concept of kids reading to shelter animals, as it is so good for both of them. Thank you for sharing this fantastic post with us!

  6. What a great post! These programs show the importance of the animal-human bond, which has such incredible benefits to both the animals and the humans. :)

    We have a reading to rescues program at the shelter. The kids and the animals both seem to enjoy it a lot. :)

  7. eye noe this commint haz nothin ta due with this post
    but eye wanted ta say thanx 777 bazillion timez for
    yur kindnezz two me & me familee last week
    sorree for de copee N paste type for mat…….lovez all wayz
    boomer ♥