Project POOCH - partnering unwanted dogs with troubled adolescent males was founded 20 years ago.
Pairing with unwanted shelter dogs teaches troubled adolescents trust, responsibility, and respect for all living things. These qualities are obvious in all the adolescents who have worked in the program.
The adolescents take care of and train the shelter dogs until a permanent home can be found. This is a way for the adolescents to give back to society and show that they can have a positive affect on those around them. A study of 100 adolescents from the program showed none had returned to a life of crime once released from corrections.
Caring for and bonding with the dogs also teaches valuable parenting skills. Many adolescents have never experienced living in a home where trust, positive parenting and kindness prevailed. As a result of being in the program, the adolescents learn social skills as well as other important communication skills that will help in their work lives and careers. Many of the former program participants now are now attending college or have received degrees and hold steady jobs.
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