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LOS ANGELES – A little boy with special needs is helping shelter dogs learn to love by reading stories to them.

Six-year-old Jacob brings a mat and a book to the Carson Animal Shelter in Los Angeles County every Thursday. He loves reading to a pit bull named Pirate, who patiently listens as Jacob carefully reads to him.

“He likes it,” Jacob told KNBC. “That makes dogs friendly.”

When Jacob’s parents worried about his developmental progress, his aunt brought him to the animal shelter. His aunt is an animal rescue worker and knew the dogs could have a healing effect on him.

“Jacob is so calming,” said aunt Lisa Ferranti. “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.”

Jacob hopes he can help the dogs find forever homes.

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