The boy who reads to dogs: six-year-old with autism reads to animals at shelter

The boy who reads to dogs.
The boy who reads to dogs.  Photo: NBC News

Six-year-old Jacob Tumalan, who has autism, is using his love of books to help a pit bull named Pirate find its forever home.

Every Thursday, Jacob, who is also known as the boy who reads to dogs, visits the Carson Animal Shelter is Los Angeles County to read.

When he heard that Pirate the dog didn't like cats; he decided to change that by reading him a book about a kitten who wears colourful shoes, NBC News reports. 

"He likes it...that makes dogs friendly," Jacob told NBC News.

Jacob was diagnosed with autism around the age of two. His mother, Katherine Tumalan, said: "It was really hard knowing something was different and your child's going to have this all his life."

Photo: NBC News

Bringing a mat to sit on and books to read, Jacob's aunt, Lisa Ferranti, who volunteers at the shelter, says "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.

"I think it helps socialise the dogs with children, and at the same time helped Jake socialise with animals more."

But Jacob only does it for the dogs.

"If I read to the dogs they will come out of their cages and find homes," he said. "They have to find new homes because they are alone."