Seeking out dogs for inclusion in Project POOCH is a standard practice, as all POOCH dogs come from other shelters. Recently, we came across Chrissy. This little dog would obviously be a costly intake, but she pulled on the heartstrings of program director Joan Dalton. “We’ll take her,” Joan decided, knowing that we could offer Chrissy a brighter and healthier future.
This Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund Mix had clearly been used as a breeding dog for quite some time. Chrissy’s previous shelter informed us that she had just given birth to a litter of puppies. Chrissy is about seven years old, and needs to be spayed. Upon entering our program, Chrissy came into heat, necessitating that she wait a while longer before her spay. In addition to this surgery, Chrissy is also scheduled for some intensive dental procedures. During her veterinary exam, we learned that Chrissy has some of the worst teeth the veterinarian had ever seen, further confirming her rough past.
All of these procedures are costly – our adoption fee rarely covers the full costs of the services provided by Project POOCH; in Chrissy’s case, it is certain that we will lose money by bringing her into the program.
However, the benefits are manifold and outweigh the financial burden of these procedures. It is extremely valuable for the youth in the program to learn how to care for dogs in various medical states - Chrissy is providing such experience for the youth. As for Chrissy, she enters Project POOCH in poor health knowing only a lifetime of breeding, but she will leave Project POOCH happy and healthy, bound for her forever home. Chrissy’s disposition is no worse for the wear, as her trainers report that she is very sweet and affectionate.
Salvador, a former youth in the Project POOCH program, helped give back to Project POOCH in a big way! Project POOCH was chosen as one of five finalists for the Awesome Portland animals grant. This past Tuesday, November 29th, the five finalists were challenged to a competition where each organization gave a 3-minute speech as to why their organization was the most deserving of the $1000 grant.
After a quick introduction from Joan Dalton, the founder and director of Project POOCH, Salvador delivered the speech for Project POOCH, vouching for the program he once participated in himself. Upon learning the results of the competition, we were overjoyed to learn that Project POOCH tied for first place with an organization dedicated to trapping feral cats, and both organizations were awarded $1000!
This win was really exciting for us, because it is a testament to the Project POOCH program. We were incredibly touched that after being released from corrections, Salvador was already giving back to the community by sharing his story and helping to procure funds for more dogs and youth. This shows just how effective Project POOCH is in achieving its mission statement of learning: responsibility, patience and compassion for all life. Salvador's victory instills further hope that Project POOCH can continue to impact troubled youth and shelter dogs alike.
Two of our Project POOCH Youth recently passed the Basic Canine Specialist Exam, which then qualifies them to work with animals upon their release from corrections. Shawn, who received his certification, is now very much in-demand as a worker in doggie daycare. This program is critical in providing employment opportunities for the youth.
We are seeing an influx of older dogs into our program. All of our dogs come from other shelters, and we have recently taken in an 8-year old Labrador Mix and a 6-year old Terrier Mix. The terrier has medical issues, which is giving the youth a hands-on opportunity to work with and understand the needs of senior dogs.
We are thrilled to announce that Peanut, one of our long-time POOCH dogs, who was in the kennel for over a year, has found a loving home. Peanut now lives with two other POOCH dogs, and is thriving. We never lose hope in finding the right home for dogs, and Peanut is living proof.
The skills and responsibility learned through Project POOCH reach far outside the scope of pet care. Many of the released youth profess that working with the dogs has helped them to become better fathers. The lessons learned behind bars cultivate success beyond corrections.