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Back again for 2023! Animal Tales is a program in which children ages 4-12 can come and read to animals in the East Side shelter!

Participants attend an orientation to learn all about our HARP shelter, the domestic animals here, and the keys to observing animal behavior. Once you and your child 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.

New for 2023! If you and your child have attended an orientation and at least one reading session in 2022, then you do not need to sign up for an orientation. If this applies to your child, then in lieu 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 2023 Animal Tales readers on our mailing list and an accurate count of all of our readers.

Registration for orientations and each reading session is through our online Active Network software. See the dates for this year below:

Dates | Times for ORIENTATION Dates | Times for READING
January 25 (Wednesday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

February 5 (Sunday) – 2:30-3:30 p.m.

February 22 (Wednesday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

February 7 (Tuesday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

February 23 (Thursday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

February 27 (Monday) – 5-6 p.m.

March 9 (Thursday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

March 20 (Monday) – 5-6 p.m.

March 28 (Tuesday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

April 6 (Thursday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

April 11 (Tuesday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

April 24 (Monday) – 5-6 p.m.

May 2 (Tuesday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

May 8 (Monday) – 5-6 p.m.

May 18 (Thursday) – 5:30-6:30 p.m.


  • Orientation – $10 per child (one-time fee)
  • Each Reading – $7 per reading session
  • Punch Card Reward – After coming to seven of the reading sessions, the remainder of the sessions are free!

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

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

Other notes:

  • Allergens: We do our best to make our programming a safe and inclusive space, but be advised that there may be allergens present on 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 for a more sensory-friendly experience (since there are less staff and no patrons on Mondays). This program is welcoming and inclusive of people of all reading abilities, so arrangements can be made for anyone 13-17 with learning delay

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