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.
Project POOCH Skills Utilized for Good of Community
S. is a Project POOCH alum, who was transferred to a minimum security facility known as Camp Florence. Camp Florence allows the youth to leave the facility during the day in order to work for local businesses and individuals in the community. One of the supervisors at Camp Florence explained to S. that his autistic daughter would soon be receiving an autism service dog. This supervisor knew of S’s background in dog training, and suggested that S. volunteer to raise puppies that will become service dogs.
Immediately, S. sought approval from the Oregon Youth Authority and applied to volunteer that very day. S. was accepted into the program and received a labradoodle puppy named Quimby. Quimby and S. are inseparable – Quimby sleeps in a crate next to S’s bed, and even goes to work with S. They attend group puppy training sessions in Tualatin each month.
S. pays for the majority of Quimby’s expenses with money he earns at his job, while the expenses that are classified as “educational” are paid for by the Oregon Youth Authority. The skills S. learned at Project POOCH have given him the ability to train an autism service dog – a highly specialized task – that S. is now doing for the good of the community.
Both Quimby and S. will be leaving this fall. Quimby will go to his new family as a full-trained service dog, and S. will leave Camp Florence, as he is preparing for life on the outside. We are confident that Quimby has received the best training possible, and we are thrilled that S. has continued to use the skills he learned through Project POOCH to better the community.
This is why we are huge believers in second chances. We are so honored to have been a part of Quimby’s success, and because of your support, POOCH Youth like S. are able to pay it forward as they move forward in their lives. THANK YOU for helping POOCH Youth achieve their dreams. Together, through work with dogs, life behind bars can have a huge positive impact on society!
You ARE making a difference and effecting lifelong positive change in the lives of the youth and dogs who are impacted by Project POOCH. Thank you for all the support you have given. We are so grateful and lucky to call you our friend.
Wednesday, June 15th, is a GlobalGiving Bonus Day where YOUR gift will be matched! If you haven't had the opportunity to make a gift in a while or would like to make another life-changing gift, we would greatly appreciate it. EVERY gift makes a difference – and makes dreams come true!
Thank YOU again from all of us at Project POOCH!