A little boy with autism has made it a promise to read books to shelter dogs to make them feel loved.
Life can be hard for the shelter dogs at Carson Animal Shelter in in Los Angeles County in California. They spend days, weeks, and months hoping that someone will come and take them home someday. It’s sad and frustrating. Luckily, they have a friend who reads them books from time to time.
Jacob, a 6-year-old boy with autism, has been helping brighten the days of these hopeful dogs. Every Thursday after school, the little boy sits down in front the shelter dogs’ cages to read him a story.
“He likes it…that makes dogs friendly,” Jacob told NBC News.
Photo: Angie Crouch/Facebook
Katherine Tumalan, Jacob’s mother, said they learned that her son is autistic around age 2, when he seemed to lose all verbal skills. She and her husband were worried about his lack in progress until Lisa Ferranti, Jacob’s aunt, brought him to Carson Animal Shelter about six months ago.
Ferranti, who is an animal rescue volunteer, immediately saw the connection Jacob has towards the homeless dogs.
“Jacob is so calming,” Ferranti said. “He walks through and he’s not yelling or banging on the cages. He comes with a book and his mat and sets it up, and the dogs just listen.”
Since then, Jacob has been working with a group called Rescue Readers, a group created by Lisa’s daughter, Lindsey.
“If I read to the dogs they will come out of their cages and find homes,” Jacob told NBC News. “They have to find new homes because they are alone.”
Jacob naturally gravitated towards Pirate, a Pit Bull who has issues with cats, according to KTVU. So when Jacob found out of the Pit Bull’s sensitivity to cats, he chose a cat-related book to read to him.
Aaron Reyes, the deputy director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control, told KTVU that Pirate relaxes when Jacob starts reading.
The simple activity proved to do wonders not only for the dogs but for Jacob as well.
Jacob’s story-telling time improved his reading skills. He now reads at a third-grade level and although he feels uncomfortable around loud noises, his mom says the reading seems to keep him focused on the dogs and more relaxed himself.
“My son has always had a big problem with loud noises and a lot of activity around him,” Katie Tumalan told ABC News. “When he’s there, he looks like he’s pretty focused and he could block a lot of that out. At times he’ll cover his ears, but he stays in tune with the dogs while reading his books, so that’s pretty awesome to me.”
Awww. You go, Jacob!