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RUFF Program Welcomes First Listening Cat

The Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe welcomed their first feline to the RUFF (Reading Up For Fun) program where dogs (and now cats) partner with schools and libraries to encourage kids to read by pairing them with animals as listeners.

Post Date:09/13/2017

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RUFF Program Welcomes First Listening Cat

TRUCKEE, Calif. (Sept. 12, 2017) – For more than seven years kids have been gaining confidence in their reading with the help of some local dogs. RUFF (Reading Up For Fun), a Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe program, has been partnering with schools and libraries to pair young readers with certified therapy dogs, but recently expanded the program to include Elvis, RUFF’s first listening cat.
Elvis, who was adopted by his owner Cherri Gilmore from the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe as a kitten, is now ten, a gray tabby Manx and is the first feline to become part of the shelter’s pet assisted therapy program. RUFF builds self-esteem in young readers by giving the child a comforting audience to read out loud. Elvis, along with owner/handler Cherri, spent the summer at Glenshire Elementary helping students with their reading. HSTT volunteer Cherri Gilmore with Elvis the cat
“Elvis the wonder cat was the star of our summer reading program,” said Teresa Ketron, librarian at Glenshire Elementary. “Students of all ages enjoyed reading to Elvis and Cherri. The relaxed ‘animal friendly’ atmosphere allowed children to practice the skill of reading in a fun and unique way. We can’t wait to continue the program during the coming school year.”
According to Erin Ellis, volunteer and humane education programs manager for HSTT, children that read to animals don’t feel the same pressure of judgment that they might feel in a classroom or peer setting. “The relationship is mainly between the animal and the child,” she said. “They make great listening partners for kids.”
RUFF teams (dog/cat and handler) meet once a week one-on-one with each of their students for 20 minutes. The program is actively seeking new teams to visit schools and assist young readers. For more information about RUFF, or any of the pet assisted therapy programs, call 530-582-2472 or go to

About the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe and the Town of Truckee: The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe was founded in 1994 by a group of volunteers. Shortly after establishment, the Humane Society and the Town of Truckee became partners and together have become the driving force of animal welfare in our region through rescue, protection, and adoption. The partnership has continued to grow over the past two decades, solidifying a long-standing partnership in September of 2013 by opening the region’s first public animal shelter...together. This facility, located at 10961 Stevens Lane in Truckee, maximizes efficiency and effectiveness by housing the public and private entities under the same roof. 
The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe is saving 100 percent of the community's adoptable homeless pets. In addition they rescue animals from overcrowded shelters whenever space allows.

Since opening the doors to their beautiful new shelter, they've increased their adoptions by 150 percent.
For more information, visit or call 530-587-5948, or follow HSTT on Facebook at


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