For the last two years, 11-year-old Caleb Hamner has spent his Friday afternoons, reading to the cats at The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.
“So he comes every week as part of his schedule with his support worker and we weren't really sure at first if he would like it and it turned into him wanting it as a job,” Amanda Hamner, Caleb’s mother, told our affiliate WGME.
To say he's comfortable at the shelter would be an understatement. The staff looks forward to his visits just as much as he does. Caleb has grown to love the animals so much his family recently took one home.
"I just ended up surprising him a couple months ago and I came home with a cat and he just, ‘Momma, I love her, I love her, she's my favorite,” Hamner said.
And while the cats benefit from the one-on-one time, Caleb's mother says it's helping him too.
“I think the biggest impact is self-confidence, and the independence skills which is, as a parent with a child with special needs, that's huge and building it at an early age is even better,” Hamner said.
“I think anytime kids in our community want to spend time here is a really amazing thing,” Jeana Roth, Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, said.
With each story, Caleb continues to grow and he's not stopping anytime soon.
“He says he wants to work here when he's older,” Hamner said.