Project POOCH was thrilled to host GlobalGiving staff members, Donna Callejon and Jacqueline Lee this past month!
Donna and Jacqueline were greeted with beautiful Portland weather. Perfect for visiting our site! Project POOCH’s kennel is located inside MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility. Visiting required a bit of walking since our kennel is on the far side of MacLaren’s campus. The weather couldn’t have cooperated better.
Joining us in the visit were Project POOCH founder and executive director, Joan Dalton, and Project POOCH board members Roxanne Thomas and Tom Lang.
When we arrived at the kennel, the youth had gathered, and welcomed us into the Engelhard Education Center (a structure youth originally built). It was wonderful listening to each of them share their story, their experience at Project POOCH, and what it means to them. They shared in detail what their responsibilities are at the kennel – responsibilities that range from feeding, cleaning, grooming, socializing, training, and of course, loving, the dogs, to creating the dogs’ marketing flyers, inventorying food supply, repairing concrete sidewalks, and tracking each doggie resident and their scheduled visits with potential adopters.
I know I was beaming with pride as they each in turn spoke about the dog they are working with, what challenges they’re facing with that dog’s training, and what successes they’ve experienced. As always, and as they’ve been taught by our founder and executive director, Joan Dalton, they were extremely polite, well spoken, kind, and professional. They even offered each of us coffee when we first walked in! They are truly learning to be gentlemen in every sense of the word!
Seeing our project through the youths' eyes as they explain it to others is so rewarding and heartwarming. It is a validation of their hard work and our investment in them as people, not offenders.
Donna, GlobalGiving Chief Business Officer, had this to say about her experience:
"It was inspiring to see Project POOCH in action and to visit with five young men who described how the program is giving them skills and hope, as they complete their time at MacLaren."
It is wonderful to see the staff at GlobalGiving take such a personal interest in projects such as ours. Their personal touch and commitment to ensuring projects on GlobalGiving are vetted adds so much value to our participation in GlobalGiving’s platform. They ensure your generous donations are going to causes that are truly changing the world. In our case, one dog at a time……
We wanted to share the awesome news about Jet, a handsome Black Lab, who was with us for 9 months.
Jet finally found his forever home!
During his time at Project POOCH, he and his youth trainer worked to master his basic commands like sit, stay, and come, and successfully pass his Canine Good Citizen test. Jet is a rambunctious and gorgeous dog with a personality as big as he is. It took his youth trainer a lot of work, perseverance, patience, consistency and trust-building to help focus Jet's energy. We couldn't believe this beautiful Black Lab was having such a hard time attracting a new family. It would probably be an understatement to say his energy was holding him back.
But that didn't stop his trainer from dedicating his time and energy to his buddy. Every day, Jet received the love, socialization, time, attention, and training he needed to keep him happy and healthy and ready for when that magic moment came.
Last month, that moment finally did.
The perfect human companion for him found him online and came to visit. And she was impressed!
As his new mom said: “He’s a fine canine!” A fine canine indeed… all 85 goofy, loving, and playful pounds of him!
Jet’s story is a reminder of how hard the youth work to successfully adopt out the dogs in their care. They never give up hope that a dog will find their forever home, just like we don’t give up hope on the youth building a better life.
Jet’s leaving was bittersweet for his trainer. After all, they spent 9 months together bonding, growing, learning, and being friends. Jet’s trainer is due to release soon. How fitting it is he was able to witness Jet—his pooch who’d waited the longest—go home.
We are so proud of his efforts and his patience. Thanks to his personal commitment and love for Jet, Jet is now happily enjoying life in a loving home!
From Jet's mom on the ride home:
“Jet had a great time riding in the car... slept most of the way, but when we slowed down, he checked out the scenery. Fantastic K9!!! Here's a pic of him in our car on the way home with his head out the window sniffing the air... Pure delight!!!!"
We love happy endings and we know you do too! Each time a dog goes to their forever home or a youth achieves a milestone while in the program, or sends us an update on their life after release, we are reminded just how lucky we are to do the work we do and to have generous, kind, and caring folks who support us. Thank YOU!
P.S. Don't forget, today is a GlobalGiving Bonus Day where your donation could be matched at 50% if made before matching funds run out! Please consider making another life-changing gift today.
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!