SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Thursday was Read Across America Day, and for the first time ever, Liberty County Animal Services participated by reading books to Taylors Creek Elementary School students.

Liberty County Animal Services ambassador dogs Willie, Trixie and Toby served alongside Director Steve Marrero, Deputy Director Melody Allington and Officer Branchard to read to kindergarten to 5th-grade students.

“We had two teachers that actually adopted dogs from us and one of our staff members, her kids go there, so we thought it was perfect,” said Marrero.

He continued, “We all had different books that we read, and we did the whole entire school, so we were there from 9 until about 1, which is the last class. We went to individual classes too.”

Deputy Director Melody Allington (pictured far left) and Liberty County Animal Services Steve Marrero (pictured far right) with students from Taylors Creek Elementary School.

There were hilarious and sweet moments during their time there, according to Marrero, which included a few children overcoming their fear of dogs.

“There were a few students that had never touched an animal before and were scared, and they overcame their fear, which was cool,” Marrero said.

Read Across America is the nation’s largest celebration of reading. This year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources that are about everyone, for everyone.

A homeschooled student reading to a dog with Liberty County Animal Services. (Photo provided by Steve Marrero)

However, Liberty County Animal Services took it a step further later on in the day.

“In the afternoon, we had kids that are homeschooled come and read to our dogs,” said Marrero.

According to Country Veterinary Clinic, many studies have shown that reading to dogs is a great way to improve self-confidence and public speaking skills.

The clinic says this is because it provides an opportunity to speak out loud, but without the judgment of human company.

On whether or not they will continue to participate in Read Across America in the future Marrero said, “Absolutely, it was a huge success.”

Liberty County Animal Services’ mission is to balance the health, safety and welfare needs of people and animals within the area of Liberty County.