Boy with autism struggles to read. Now watch his dalmatians help him

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Learning to read as a child was a daunting task. It wasn’t even half as easy for 8-year-old Keaton Cook.

Keaton, who has autism and sensory issues, used to have a meltdown at the sight of a book. Fortunately, that has since changed thanks to his two pet dalmatians.

“He gets stressed because he struggles to read and write. He’s very behind his peers,” his mother Gemma Cook, 34, told

Keaton reads at a pre-school level and getting him to read has been a challenge at both school and home for a number of years.

According to Gemma Cook, something miraculous happened. Dotty (6 years old) and Charlie (3 years old) now sit quietly and patiently as Keaton reads to them. How did this even begin to happen?

Cook initially wanted to get a service dog for Keaton, but the waiting list was too long so she decided to try something with the dogs.

“I wanted to see if it [reading] 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.”


Ever since, Keaton has been reading to his two dogs every night.

“Every time he sits to read they do the same thing. It’s really emotional to see. It has made him feel really proud of himself and boosted his self-esteem, which is good,” Cook said.

Cook thinks Keaton’s strong bond with the dogs has contributed to this amazing moment.

“It’s like the dogs have a sixth sense,” Cook said. “They can sense when Keaton’s not okay or if he’s having a bad day, and they’ll try to help him. It’s lovely to have that. He has a very close bond with the dogs. He struggles with making friends, and if you asked him he’ll always say that the dogs are his best friends.”


Luckily, Keaton will always have a friend in his two loyal companions. They allowed him to read without any stress and hopefully they can help Keaton achieve more accomplishments down the road.

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