Cook’s 8-year-old son, Keaton, who has autism and sensory issues, has struggled to read aloud for a long time, as the sight of a book would cause him to have a meltdown.
Cook had gotten the idea to try to use the dogs as encouragement for Keaton after a school psychologist suggested getting a service dog to help him read, but the wait list for such a companion was way too long.
“I wanted to see if it could work with our dogs. I kind of made it so he would feel like he was helping the dogs and making them feel calm. I told him that the dogs loved to hear kids read,” said Cook. “So he started reading and the dogs came over and just sat next to him. They just sat there and listened to him.”