Project POOCH recently brought in a deaf Brittany Spaniel -- the fourth deaf dog we have had in the program. The first deaf dog was placed with the Oregon School for the Deaf, the second dog detected cancer when he jumped on his guardian, the third dog became therapy dog! A couple of our youth are experts at working with deaf dogs; they also help adopters learn how to work with the dogs once being placed in a home.
Developing work skills and a work ethic are at the top of the charts with our youth. They learn computer skills, kennel maintenance and repair, along with gardening as they maintain our meditation garden. The youth took the old leaking skins off the unused greenhouse and turned it into an indoor dog training center. It rains a lot in Oregon so now dogs can get basic training and agility skills in the bad weather. The dedication of the K-9 training center will be this summer.
We have a waiting list of youth wanting to join Project POOCH and work with the dogs; and learn patience, responsibility, and compassion.
I have been in the Project POOCH program for over three years. I have helped more than 24 dogs find homes and each day I am learning more about myself and how I can improve.
My favorite dog, if I had to pick one, would be the one I am currently working with. Her name is Callie and she is 1 ½ years old. She has shown me that if I am persistent and put my mind to it, I can make a difference. She has been at Project POOCH for nine months. I see progress each day with her, which makes it hard for me to give her up. She relies on me and makes me feel needed, something I’ve never felt before.
This program has molded me into a more confident, compassionate and patient individual. These are traits that I needed to develop in the past, but I never knew exactly how to. I have learned a great deal about responsibility. I know this will help me in the future. I have also developed a love for animals that I never thought I would. I am now leaning towards a career in the animal care industry. I’m still working on my social skills, which is something I have always lacked. This program has given me the opportunity to work on these skills daily. Since being in the program, I have become much happier. My family has noticed the change in me too.
Project POOCH has given me hope for the future and an optimistic view on life. I am thankful to be a part of this wonderful program. I am proof that when given the opportunity, a person can really make a positive change in their life.
Project POOCH is not just a job working with and rescuing dogs. It has been a place for me to break down barriers of character flaws that I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own.
Working with shelter dogs has helped me with compassion and caring for others and my surroundings. The dogs helped me be more aware of my emotions as well. I now know that I have more feelings than just anger or being fine. Now it’s even okay for me to shed tears from time to time.
I’ve also been able to learn various skills while working at POOCH. I first and foremost have learned quite a bit about handling dogs such and grooming, training and general knowledge and care of dogs. We also do all of the maintenance needs at the kennels and have even remodeled the kennels. I have also had the opportunity to learn computer skills and various software programs such as Photoshop and Microsoft Excel.
Project POOCH has also been able to help me with my social skills in dealing with people from the public as well as holding conversations with our volunteers that come in periodically to help out with dogs and the guys in the program. All in all, Project POOCH has helped make me the person I am today. Without POOCH I don’t think I could have even become the respectable, mature individual that I now am now. I am forever grateful to be a part of POOCH and how it has helped me as a human being.