Children invited to read to shelter animals


A youngster reads a book to a shelter dog at Animal Friends of the Valleys. Photo provided by Natasha Johnson

Huey’s Heroes is a reading program designed to help readers improve their reading skills while reading books to the animals at Animal Friends of the Valleys. The goals of the program are to help kids become stronger readers while fostering a love and understanding for animals, provide a calm, nurturing presence for shelter animals, assist young adults in fulfilling community service hours through volunteering and to raise awareness of over-population in local animal shelters.

Participants can use the program to learn the fundamental basics of reading (early stage readers), increase their ability to read to a non-judgmental listener (elementary readers) and share their love of reading (advanced readers) with an animal that longs for and benefits from companionship.

Children of all ages are invited to read to the animals at the shelter on Wednesdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Animal Friends of the Valleys is located at 33751 Mission Trail in Wildomar.

Huey’s Heroes was founded by Tracy Lystra in October 2015. Tracy has been a foster parent to many animals over the years, especially to senior dogs. She named the Huey’s Heroes program after her adopted pit bull, Huey, who was used as a bait dog and was near death when he was found in a rural part of Moreno Valley in December 2014. For more information about Tracy’s organization, Saving Huey Foundation, visit