They say that dogs are man's best friend, and you only have to spend a small amount of quality time with your canine companion to realise how rewarding the relationship between you and your pooch can be.

Indeed, not only do mutts make for great company, but their talents for leading the blind and sniffing out criminals mean they can provide a brilliant helping hand in various situations.

And now a new programme is taking further advantage of the compassionate qualities our four-legged friends are so happy to show, with a rescue Greyhound called Danny attentively listening to youngsters as they learn to read.

Danny was introduced to the READ scheme by animal-assisted therapy specialist Tony Nevett after he found the pooch wandering around the streets of Cork in Ireland.

Mr Nevett noticed the Greyhound's nature made him ideal for the initiative that aims to build children's reading confidence, and immediately set about organising visits to schools where kids could benefit from Danny's presence.

The pooch has now been to classrooms throughout the UK and America, sitting patiently as youngsters read him their books and build their literary abilities without the watchful eye of parents or teachers.

What's more, Danny has now appeared in various books himself, with a series that details his adventures having been written specifically for children.

But shipping the Greyhound around the country and filling his bowl with premium dog food doesn't come cheap, so the Wales-based Burns Pet Nutrition company has decided to sponsor the pooch by providing his meals and paying for his travel expenses.

Steve Chilvers, marketing director at Burns Pet Nutrition, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be sponsoring Danny. It is such a marvellous project and helps to promote dogs in such a good light."

Mr Chilvers added that Burns are looking to translate Danny's books into the Welsh language as a means for more schools in the country to benefit from the canine's reading scheme.

Written by: Hannah