Jacob1Jacob Tumalan is wise beyond his six years.

After he visited Los Angeles’ Carson Animal Shelter last year, Jacob decided he wanted to regularly read to shelter dogs so they wouldn’t be lonely.

Jacob’s aunt Lisa Dekowski-Ferranti volunteers at the local shelter where Jacob visits every Thursday after school.

Ferrant explains, “Jacob is so calming. 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.”

When Jacob was just 2-years-old, he seemed to lose his verbal abilities, bringing it to his parents’ attention that he was different.

His mother, Katherine Tumalan, says “I noticed things were different [when] he didn’t want to play with other children.”

Jacob is autistic. His mother says, “It was really hard knowing something was different and your child’s going to have this all his life.”

From an early age, Jacob displayed a passion for reading. Now he combines this interest while keeping the shelter dogs company.

“If I read to the dogs,” Jacob says, “they will come out of their cages and find homes. They have to find new homes because they are alone.”

Jacob’s weekly visits have improved the dogs’ social skills, and now Jacob reads at a third-grade level.

“I think it helps socialize the dogs with children, and at the same time helped [Jacob] socialize with animals more,” Ferranti says.

We can’t think of a happier way to spend a Thursday afternoon. Way to go, Jacob!

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