Project POOCH (Positive Opportunities, Obvious Change with Hounds) is very proud of a former youth who went on to college after leaving our program and recently received his Bachelor of Arts degree in communications.
Andrew's first dog in the program was an abandoned chocolate lab, Rocky. The dog was depressed, sickly, and heartbroken over losing his family. Andrew liked Rocky immediately and spent time talking to the dog as he sat next to him in the kennel day after day until an adoptive family came along.
Although Andrew missed Rocky when he was adopted, it was affirmation to him that he could learn valuable skills working with dogs.
Rocky found his forever home and Andrew turned his life around to become a productive member of society.
Thank you all!
How do we know that what we teach our children has been learned?
We have recently learned that three former Project POOCH youths are applying what they learned about dogs while incarcerated to help save dogs at a local animal shelter. The youth are no longer incarcerated; go to the local shelter and work with some of the hard-to-adopt dogs by using humane methods of training so the dogs have a better chance of being adopted. They first socialize and bond with the dogs before starting positive reinforcement training. Once the dogs are trained to be Canine Good Citizens, they will be adopted into permanent homes.
The youth work with these dogs to become better pets, while they continue to work on their social skills and to become productive citizens of their communities!
This evidence is the proof that the youths learned what they were taught in Project POOCH!!
Eighty-eight cents of every dollar donated goes to our program and making it possible to continue to provide valuable skills to the youth and provide adoptable dogs to the community that we serve.
Project POOCH is often asked how we teach responsibility, patience, and compassion for all life to the youth in our program?
Responsibility begins with youths walking their dogs two times a day, supervising outdoor play time, training their dogs, and taking care of each dog's basic needs like food, fresh water, clean bedding, bathing and grooming. Responsibility also entails organizing dog training equipment, maintaining dog progress reports, and completing assigned tasks.
Patience with a dog teaches youth the importance of being patient with themselves. Since we use only humane training methods and high value treats, some dogs may not be into food. It is up to the youths to be patient and figure out what motivates each particular dog they are training.
While walking back to their living units, POOCH youths noticed a crow with an injured leg. They insisted that we delay walking back for lunch on their living units so that they could help the injured crow. One of the youth took off his jacket and threw it over the crow to keep it still so that the bird could be put in a dog carrier and taken to the local veterinarian. The bird survived and was returned to campus where the youth nursed it back to health. I had just witnessed compassion in action.
It is our hope that the lessons the youth learn in Project POOCH not only teach them to compassionately care for animals; but also how to care for and raise their own children using positive methods.