Often we share stories of success about POOCH doggie alums who’ve found their forever homes. This time we’d like to share a story about a POOCH youth’s success. This is, after all, our raison d’être! So, it’s with swelled chest and lots of pride we share the story of M.
M. participated in Project POOCH from 2005-2006. It wasn’t the longest a youth has been in our program, but the impact—on dogs and on him—was overwhelming! Project POOCH recently sat down with this now very accomplished young man and learned how Project POOCH affected his life and the path he’s since followed.
If there’s one word to describe M., it’s optimistic.
He has what seems to be a permanent smile on his face. Where he is today as opposed to where he was several years ago certainly gives him ample reason.
During his time at Project POOCH, he worked with and helped adopt out six dogs: Cash, Zeus, Jasper, Max, Sophie, and Emma. It may be a few years since he was in our program, but it took him no time to rattle off these names. His experience and his time with these dogs clearly have left a lasting impression!
His most memorable dog? Emma. She was a very scared dog because she’d been tied up for several months before ultimately finding her way to Project POOCH. The key to her success? Socialization. That’s what this really all boils down to: making friends, learning to trust, and learning to play well with others. M. said he liked that Project POOCH was helping dogs who were like him and the other youth—individuals who’d gotten lost along the way, had slipped through the cracks, and who were in danger of being forgotten by society altogether. He understood where dogs like Emma were coming from. And he related to their plight.
The difference he knew he’d be making inspired him.
M. tried his hand at anything and everything that needed to be done at the kennel, from helping build walkways, to landscaping, electrical, and record keeping. He’s proud of the fact he helped build POOCH’s beautiful meditation garden, a place where the youth can take a moment and reflect in what is otherwise a hectic day.
Today, M. is following a path Project POOCH clearly helped set him on. He’s a dog trainer. Not only that, he’s a trainers’ trainer. He attributes Project POOCH for helping him achieve the success he has enjoyed so far. According to him, Joan Dalton handed him the job application, gave him a Safeway card so he could buy food, bought him clothes for his interview, and set him off to a brighter future. A brighter future he has built indeed!
The youth learn many new things during their time with Project POOCH.
They learn the values of patience, compassion, responsibility, and respect for all life. They also gain real life work experience—training dogs, understanding dog behavior, customer service through working with potential adopters, computer skills, record keeping, and how to be reliable, hardworking employees.
M. took what he learned at Project POOCH and directly applied it to his post release career, one at which he is excelling. M. said it took him half the normal time to complete the trainer’s course because he’d already learned so much at Project POOCH. This is indeed the fulfillment of our mission—youth learning skills at Project POOCH that help them find a job and succeed in life. And in M.’s case, continue to work with the very animals who taught him patience, compassion, and trust: dogs in need of training so they too can have a better life.
We are indeed proud of M.’s success and you should be too! After all, it’s because of your support, youth like M. have stories with a happy ending!
We hope on the upcoming Bonus Day on May 13th, you’ll consider making another life-changing donation to our project, Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs, between 6 am and 9 pm Pacific Time so together we can create even more happy endings…. for youth and dogs. ALL gifts will be matched on this special Bonus Day!
As you know, at Project POOCH, Inc., we teach the youth in the program patience, kindness, respect, and compassion for all life. That lesson is not lost on the dogs whose lives they save. One such dog is also making a life-saving difference for pups whose lives hang in the balance….
Fenway is a beloved POOCH alum who visits Project POOCH often. He’s a delightfully energetic and happy dog who hikes with his mom regularly, though he never seems to tire no matter how many miles they log!
Fenway’s future wasn’t always so bright…
…until he was found by Project POOCH.
When our executive director first found Fenway, he was cowering, head down in a corner at an area shelter. She learned he’d been a stray, wandering the streets of a town in Oregon. He was having difficulty being adopted because he was shut down and depressed, but she saw the love and soulfulness in his eyes and knew he’d be a great candidate for our program.
Fenway's confidence grows...
During his stay with us, as he gained his confidence, we realized he was a happy, high energy dog who had difficulty calming down and focusing—behaviors that require patience and time to overcome. The youth worked with Fenway, teaching him his basic commands, helping him to be more focused and calm, and ultimately taking him through the successful completion of his Canine Good Citizen Certification!
We knew, once his mom, a longtime POOCH volunteer, met him, it would be love at first sight! What a great team they make!
Fenway becomes a superhero...
Together, they serve as wonderful ambassadors in the community. So, when his mom told us Fenway had become a doggie blood donor for a local emergency animal hospital, we were not all that surprised, and we were very proud. He’s using everything he learned at Project POOCH about being a well-mannered, loving and trusting pooch, and giving back to other dogs in need. It takes a calm and patient dog to sit for the 30 minutes necessary to donate blood!
There are over a dozen blood group systems recognized for dogs. That makes each doggie blood donor like Fenway even more critical to the success of the hospital’s life-saving efforts.
For the next two years, Fenway and his mom will be making regular visits to donate blood. His life was saved by the staff and youth at Project POOCH, and now he is paying it forward by saving the lives of other pooches.
Fenway is definitely a superhero in our book!
When you support Project POOCH, your gift goes so much farther than the brick and mortar of our facility. Every day the youth make choices that reflect the lessons of compassion and respect they’ve been taught. Every day, they make the choice to make the world a better, safer, more humane place, and help dogs like Fenway do the same. THANK YOU for showing compassion to these youth and dogs who are striving to build better and brighter futures.
We hope you’ll consider making another life-saving gift to our project, Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs, on Wednesday, March 18th, between 6 am and 9 pm Pacific Time during GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day. Gifts will be matched at 30% until the $60,000 in matching funds run out.
A few months ago, we shared Rusty’s story of patience, hope, and perseverance. Well, we thought we'd share with you an update we received about his life today so you could see firsthand the life-saving impact of your donations.
As you may remember, Rusty was with us for about three years before he found his forever home through Project POOCH, Inc.® He had some special requirements for his new home since he didn't get along with small animals.
We never gave up on him… …And he kept believing in us.
Today, Rusty is a pampered pooch who is adored by his family. Something we believe - and we know you agree - should be true for EVERY dog.
Rusty is one of the lucky ones YOU helped. Thanks to your generous support, Rusty enjoys yoga with his mom, goes on fun adventures, and just enjoys the happy life.
Rusty no longer has to wonder when his new family will walk through the door and take him home. He is home... and he is loved.
From Rusty’s mom:
“Well, it's been almost a year now that Rob and I have had Rusty in our home. He's doing really well. Thank you for all your hard work!”
THANK YOU for bringing joy to Rusty and his family. THANK YOU for ensuring Project POOCH, Inc.®, will be able to continue to help the youth at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility as they help homeless dogs like Rusty find their forever homes... ...No matter how long it takes.
What a great way to start the new year!
-From the youth, dogs, staff, volunteers, and Board at Project POOCH, Inc.®