Back by popular demand! Animal Tales is a program in which children can come and read to animals in the East Side shelter! New to 2024: We’ve increased the age range to now be children aged 4-16!

Participants attend an orientation to learn all about our HARP shelter, the domestic animals here, and the keys to observing animal behavior. Once they attend an orientation, they can sign up for as many or as few assigned dates to come read to the animals! Children can bring their own books (or choose from our collection), grab a carpet square, and then read to animals whose kennels are marked with a “Read to me next!” sign.

This program not only helps to socialize the animals in our shelter to help expedite their adoption but also helps children improve their confidence and literacy as well.

**If you and your child have attended an orientation and at least one reading session in 2022 or 2023, then you do not need to sign up for an orientation. If this applies to your child, then instead of signing up for orientation, you MUST sign up for Animal Tales on this form before you can register for any reading sessions through Active Network. This helps to ensure we have all participating 2024 Animal Tales readers on our mailing list and an accurate count of all of our readers. **

Orientation Schedule:

January 25 (Thursday) – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm 

January 29 (Monday) – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm 

February 18 (Sunday) – 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Reading Schedule:

February 5 (Monday) – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

February 15 (Thursday) – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

February 27 (Tuesday) – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

March 4 (Monday) – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

March 12 (Tuesday) – 5:30 pm -6:30 pm

March 21 (Thursday) – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

April 1 (Monday) – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

April 9 (Tuesday) – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

April 18 (Thursday) – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

May 6 (Monday) – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

May 14 (Tuesday) – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

May 23 (Thursday) – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm


Orientation – $10 per child (one-time fee)

Each Reading – $7 per reading session

Registration: Register for an orientation and all reading sessions online via our Active Network software.

· Click this link to register! 

· Click this link if you were a reader in 2022 or 2023 (to sign up instead of orientation)

Location: East Side Domestic Shelter, 6926 Hamilton Ave. Pittsburgh PA 15208

Other notes:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters:If you are a participant of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, we would love to invite you and your matches to join us at no cost. Please email us at if you would like to sign up for any of the orientations or reading sessions. We’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have, and we can’t wait to see you there!
  • Allergens: We do our best to make our programming a safe and inclusive space, but be advised that there may be allergens present in our facility (like pollen, animal dander, and nuts).
  • Accessibility & Inclusivity: We would like to offer one Monday reading session a month (in addition to the 2 other sessions) to provide a more sensory-friendly experience (since there are fewer staff and no patrons on Mondays). This program is welcoming and inclusive of people of all reading abilities, so please let us know if your reader may require any special accommodations.