My son is currently in your Project POOCH program. I just wanted to tell you that you and your program are such a blessing. I know in my heart that because of you and Project POOCH, my son is very happy and I know how much he loves dogs. When he left home to do his time we had 3 dogs, and I know being able to be around dogs helps him feel like he is not wasting his time while incarcerated. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate you and all the love you have for the dogs that are lost, forgotten, and abused. The love you have for the boys, and giving them a chance and not giving up on them as well, when others have. Knowing my son is so happy in your program makes it a little easier out here while I am waiting for him to come home. Thank you so much!!
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.
At Project POOCH we are often amazed at the long term impact the program has had on the youth that we've served. Here is a letter recently sent to us from a former Project POOCH youth.
"I just wanted to say hi. I also wanted you to know that I am very happy to see that you have been able to keep Project POOCH up and running. It is a wonderful program. I know from experience that the program works, and it works in ways that the incarcerated youth are not able to see right now. After being out of Maclaren for over a decade, I must say that the people, dogs and instructors continually touch my life. Everyday. I am not sure if the youth realize, truly realize, what you are doing for them....I am not sure if you remember me or not, but I wanted you to know I really appreciate you, your program and your dedication. I often wonder about Project POOCH and to this day wish I could still be a part of it. It's a wonderful program. Thank you for keeping it going and hopefully growing"
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