Dog Reader 1 Reddit user puglife123 aka Kathleen Costello

It all started because she missed her own dog.

After 14 years with her beloved Welsh corgi, Sandy Barbabella was at a loss when he died last year—terribly lonely, yet not quite ready for a new four-legger in her life.

So the mother of four and grandmother of six decided to volunteer at the local animal shelter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spend some quality time with furry friends who, like her, were missing their buddies.

Her dog, Angus, had loved being read to, so she brought along a book.Friday Night Lights Kitten Nursery Best Friends Animal Society

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It’s now been 18 months since Barbabella first began settling into her chair beside the kennels every Tuesday at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. Shelter workers say it really calms down the dogs, but Barbabella says it does more good for her than it does for the dogs.

Dog Reader 2 Amy CrawfordBarbabella was unaware that photos of herself reading to dogs were spreading on the internet until the media started calling. A fellow shelter volunteer was so touched by the sight of her reading ‘Biscuit and the Little Pup’ to an old pit bull that she snapped a photo (above) and posted it on Reddit.

“She was so patient with the dogs—I watched her read to several—and they just loved being petted by her,” Kathleen Costello told TODAY.

Inspired by Barbabella’s style of volunteering, the shelter has announced that a read-a-thon is being organized for September.

The plan is to get kids involved, reading to the animals, with the added benefit of reading practice for the two-leggers, along with plenty of friendly companionship for the four-leggers.

(READ more at TODAY) — Photos: Kathleen Costello; (left) Amy Crawford, West. PA Humane Society

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