10-year-old boy spends his free time comforting shelter dogs by reading to them

At any given moment there are thousands of cats and dogs around the country living in shelters. We hope that they all find their forever homes, but in the meantime they can all use some human companionship.

Shelters can be stressful environments for pets, but the simple act of spending time with these animals—by talking, reading or even playing music—can help relax them, help them get used to being around people and ultimately make them more adoptable.

And now one inspiring boy has made it his mission to read to dogs as much as he can.

Evan Bisnauth is a 10-year-old from the Bronx, New York. A few months ago he discovered an opportunity to volunteer with the Animal Care Centers of NYC called the “Books for Boroughbreds” program, where young volunteers read books to shelter pets.

He jumped at the opportunity: “I always wanted to work with dogs and I was excited when she told me that I could read to them!” Evan told BuzzFeed

While most kids his age are playing video games, he spends his free time with a book, reading out loud to comfort these lonely dogs.

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When my mom first told me back in August that I was going to be reading to shelter animals @nycacc I was excited because I was going to be working with dogs and this has been something that I've been wanting to do. I did not know what to expect from my experience and I am still learning. Romeo(68984) was the first dog I read to and he was an absolute pleasure. I remember being drawn to him because he was sitting quietly in the back of his cage and I assumed he was scared. As I read to him his ears just perked up and he came to the front to listen. I couldn't believe how cute and sweet he was and at that point I realized how important my job was to make these dogs feel more comfortable when they spend most of their time in uncertainty. As I visited the shelter week after week I learned to take my time and try to understand what they were going through. I learned that I am not going to get through to every dog, but it's not a fail. I think it's more important to know that I gave them my time and I was their friend for the day. As I got to know some of these animals and their stories I found that it is hard to hear… and see the things that they've been through. I wanted them to know that I was there to help them conquer their past fears and traumas and that someone is on their side even if it was just to soothe them for a brief moment. It was a moment they didn't have to worry or be nervous and that means everything to them. This season is a time of year that we are especially filled with light and joy, but I am realizing how many animals don't get to be a part of a loving family and how long some of them have been sitting alone in their kennels without someone to love them. Life is precious and time is something we cannot get back – if you can give your time to an animal in need this season (volunteer/foster…even better, Adopt), you would be amazed at how instantly you impact their world. Featured here is flashback to Romeo – one of my first furry friends. He is still looking for a furever home.

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Despite his young age, Evan has a deeply empathy for these dogs, and truly wants to reach out and make a difference in their lives.

“I wanted to help [the dogs] conquer their fear so when people interact with them and they want to adopt, they are more socialized,” he told NY1.

“Usually, they are scared, and it’s a new place for them.”

Evan wrote that he has seen the difficult times these dogs go through, and acknowledges that he won’t always make a breakthrough with every one. He’s also seen many of the dogs he’s read to be euthanized.

But the job can also be incredibly rewarding, and he’s seen first hand the impact his kindness can have on these animals.

“The most rewarding experience is when I try to specifically help an at-risk dog and I can almost immediately see the impact and how they react to me reading to them,” Evan told Buzzfeed.

“They start to get calm and quiet and some even fall asleep… That makes me happy because I can tell they are scared and stressed.”

His story shows how shelter dogs often need a little extra love to warm up to people, but that the effort is well worth it.

“All dogs are good,” Evan told Buzzfeed, addressing the common stigma against shelter animals. “They’re just scared and they need love and they just need to know someone is on their side.”

It’s an inspiring way to volunteer, and Evan’s mother says the dogs aren’t the only ones who benefit from the program.

“It’s taught him a lot about compassion and giving a voice to dogs that doesn’t have a voice,” Evan’s mother Amanda Persaud told NY1.

Thank you to this kind young man for taking the time to make these dogs feel loved, we know you’re really making a difference!

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