6-Year-Old With Autism Reads to Shelter Dogs So They Won't Feel Lonely

PHOTO: Jacob Tumalan, 6, of La Habra, California, reads stories weekly to the dogs of Carson Shelter in Gardena, California.PlayCourtesy Lisa Dekowski-Ferranti
WATCH 6-Year-Old Reads to Shelter Dogs so They Won't Feel Lonely

A 6-year-old California boy is helping shy rescue dogs come out of their shells by reading them storybooks.

Jacob Tumalan, 6, who has autism, began reading to pups after his aunt, Lisa Dekowski-Ferranti, brought him to Carson Animal Shelter in Gardena, California, where she and her daughter Lindsay volunteer.

Mom Katie Tumalan told ABC News that Jacob's weekly visits to the shelter have improved his reading skills and even helped him come out of his own shell a bit.

"My son has always had a big problem with loud noises and a lot of activity around him," Tumalan of La Habra, California, said. "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."

PHOTO: Jacob has autism and his mother Katie Tumalan said reading to the dogs has helped with his sensitivity to loud noises. Courtesy Lisa Dekowski-Ferranti
Jacob has autism and his mother Katie Tumalan said reading to the dogs has helped with his sensitivity to loud noises.

Tumalan said her niece Lindsay started a group called "Rescue Readers," where children volunteer to read to the animals at the shelter. Jacob joined, and has been reading every Thursday after school for the last six months.

PHOTO:Jacob began reading to the shelter dogs 6 months ago, after his aunt suggested that he helped her volunteer. Courtesy Lisa Dekowski-Ferranti
PHOTO:Jacob began reading to the shelter dogs 6 months ago, after his aunt suggested that he helped her volunteer.

Jacob's Aunt Lisa told ABC News that her daughter Lindsey hopes to recruit additional "Rescue Readers" this summer.

"I am very proud of him," Jacob's mother said.

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