Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs

by Project Pooch, Inc.
Play Video
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs
Change the Lives of Troubled Youth & Shelter Dogs

PUPDATE: AVRIL

It's an age-old question, do we rescue dogs, or do they rescue us? Today, we would like to share a pupdate on Avril, an appx. 1-year-old pup who was at Project POOCH early this year. She came to us from Marion County Dog Services and, through her time at Project POOCH, had the time and space to build trust with humans, work on her anxiety, and learn some basic cues.

“Avril has changed my life so much. Some days I don’t know that I would leave the house if it weren’t for her. Everyone responds to her sweetness and beauty; thirteen year old boys on skateboards shout, “I love your dog!” as they roll by. Grocery store checkers, security guards, and bridge toll workers love to give her treats. Drivers back up to let us cross the street and I have conversations with people about their own dogs a lot now.

When I got her, I was thinking she would cheer me up but it doesn’t quite work that way. She’s extremely sensitive to my moods—if I’m particularly upset, I notice she’s sometimes sick to her stomach the next morning so I’ve learned to better regulate my moods. This has actually helped me temper my emotions. We have a regular round trip we take to the beach; it’s a five mile walk and I’m sure I wouldn’t do it so often but for Avril. She’s been crucial to my mental and physical health throughout an incredibly difficult time in my life. She brings me joy and hope and I want to thank you all, but especially the young man who did such an exceptional job of caring for her and training her.”

Project POOCH: Win-Win-Win

  • Youth participants develop confidence and skills that will benefit them at MacLaren and upon release.
  • POOCH pups learn to trust people, learn basic cues, and become ready to be good companions.
  • Adopters gain a new, loving family member and know that in adopting from POOCH, they support a program that gives back to their community.

2022 Highlights

  • Served 14 youth
  • Youth dedicated 4,116 hours to Project POOCH so far this year
  • 4 Youth earned Canine Basics Certificates
  • 3 Youth earned Canine Advanced Certificates
  • 16 dogs in the program; 12 dogs adopted
  • Installed 2 new outdoor enclosures
  • Replaced old flooring in our Agility Center with high-quality, shelter-grade flooring

Thank you for helping Project POOCH continue to provide life-changing opportunities to incarcerated youth, shelter dogs, adopters, and our community.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

We have had a busy summer at Project POOCH, with many projects taking place inside and outside the kennel. We currently have five youth and five dogs in the program, with the youth teaching the dogs their basic cues, including sit, stay, down, and walk on a loose leash. We continue to manage through the challenges of COVID, which have limited the number of youth and dogs we can have in the program. Despite these limitations, we strive to make a BIG impact on everyone we come in contact with—youth participants, POOCH pups, and our community. We want to thank you for believing in and supporting our mission and being an integral part of our POOCH community. Here's a quick update on a few things we have been up to over the last few months.

 

Outdoor Enclosures

Our youth were overjoyed to see a delivery truck arrive with our new outdoor enclosures on a warm summer morning in mid-July. The youth quickly sprung into action, unboxing the enclosures and assembling them in the main yard. These outdoor enclosures are a critical part of the process of caring for the dogs. When the youth arrive at the kennel, each indoor/outdoor dog run needs to be cleaned and sanitized in the morning. This process requires that the dog are removed from their kennel. Over the winter, two of our outdoor enclosures were damaged in heavy storms, and we were down to one outdoor space. By replacing the two damaged enclosures, we again had three outdoor spaces for the dogs to hang out while their indoor/outdoor runs were cleaned. Once the enclosures were assembled, the youth wasted no time sharing the new spaces with the pups. Residents Faith and Cali were the first two to give them a test run and gave them an enthusiastic "paws-up!"

 

Faith

Faith came to Project POOCH as a stray from another local shelter. Faith is approximately 3 years old and has clearly never experienced being on a leash. When the youth tried to get her leashed up to go on a walk, she expressed her displeasure in every way she could, leading to a very frustrating experience for her and the youth. We tried a flat collar, a Gentle Leader, and a harness to no avail. We brought in a different dog trainer to assess the situation to see if they could come up with a different approach. The new trainer had a one-on-one session with Faith and her handler and decided to try using a clicker in Faith's training. Faith and her handler immediately took to this method, and we have seen a dramatic improvement over the past month! Faith is now walking on a flat collar, and she and her handler are enjoying their walks. Training is not one-size-fits-all—what works for one dog may not work for another. We are committed to working with our pups to find the approach that "clicks" for them to help set every one of them up for success.

 

Dog Wash

On August 13, we hosted one of our favorite events of the year—our Annual Dog Wash! From NOON to 4 p.m. at Stickmen Brewing in Tualatin we scrubbed pups of all sizes while their pawrents enjoyed pizza and pints. From tiny chihuahuas to newfies, our volunteers were hard at work, and we saw some former POOCH pups come through the lineup. One of our former youth, who left MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in 2019, volunteered his time to help with setup and greeting attendees. He was excited to give back to the program that had helped him develop responsibility, patience, and compassion during his time at MacLaren. He's hoping to come back to MacLaren in a few years as a visitor to help recruit youth into the program by sharing his story.

 

Agility Center

Our Agility Center flooring has been in dire need of replacement. The old flooring was interlocking green foam pieces, and the foam was breaking down and turning the pups—and EVERYTHING that came in contact with it—Wicked Witch of the West Green! We spent the month of August cleaning the Agility Center, removing the old flooring, and giving everything a good scrub to make way for the new rubber flooring. The flooring was delivered last week, and the installation will take place in September.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Stella (Adopted April 2022)
Stella (Adopted April 2022)

Project POOCH is off to a great start for 2022. With the reduction in COVID cases we are now able to return to more normal operations which allows for us to serve more youth and more pups!

Youth

The COVID pandemic has provided challenges for the entire world, and we are no exception. To limit the spread of the virus there were strict protocols in place at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, which limited the number of youth we could have working at the kennel as well as it limited our ability to bring in our professional dog trainer to work with the youth and the dogs. With the precautions eased, we can now better serve our community. Through April 2022:

  • 11 youth have been a part of Project POOCH
  • 7 youth are currently active in Project POOCH
  • Youth have put in a total of 1820 hours at Project POOCH
  • Our professional dog trainer is at the kennel once a week to train the youth handlers and the dogs (restarted in February 2022)

Dogs

Now that we have more youth in the program, we are able to have more dogs at our kennel, which is helping more dogs find their forever homes. Through April 2022:

  • 10 dogs have been a part of Project POOCH
  • 5 dogs have been adopted
  • 17 dogs (previously POOCH dogs) have boarded with us

Events

We are getting back out into the community to share our mission and raise much needed funds for Project POOCH. We are excited to engage with our community! Upcoming Events:

  • Trivia Night at Rogue Eastside Pub in Portland on Thursday, June 9
  • Dog Wash at Stickmen Brewing Company in Tualatin on Saturday, August 13

Thanks to a generous donor, all donations received through any platform up to $4,000 are being matched! You can donate on GlobalGiving today or directly through our website to have your impact doubled! (https://pooch.org/give/)

We greatly appreciate your support to help us change the lives of troubled youth and shelter dogs. It's YOU who makes our work possible.

Thank you,

Sarah Bradham

Executive Director, Project POOCH

Parker (Adopted May 2022)
Parker (Adopted May 2022)
Project POOCH Trivia Event
Project POOCH Trivia Event

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

The Project Pooch would like to welcome Sarah Bradham as our incoming Executive Director! Sarah brings more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and is a modern day nonprofit Renaissance woman. She has hands-on experience in everything from strategic planning, development, and event planning, to the day-to-day details of budgeting, graphic design, and communications. Sarah joins us most recently after serving as the Executive Director of Mazamas, a nonprofit mountaineering education organization based in Portland, Oregon. 

It is Sarah’s connection to her own pup, Quiggley, that demonstrates her heart for vulnerable animals and providing second chances. While working in the trenches cleaning cages and hosing kennels as a volunteer at the Oregon Humane Society, she met Quiggley and it was love at first sight. Sarah understands the redemptive and educational qualities of dogs as well as the need for opportunity for growth and change in the lives of incarcerated youth. 

Over the past year, the Project Pooch board invested in the future of our organization by working with Page Two Partners to define the needs for new leadership and the vision of POOCH. The board believes in Sarah’s abilities to help lead Project Pooch into a thriving future.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

For almost 30 years Project POOCH has been working with MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility to teach patience, responsibility and compassion for all life through our program. Here at POOCH we like to say we’re saving youth, one dog at a time. But what exactly does that entail? We though you might like to know a little about the process we go through in determining who will benefit the most from the program and how we select dogs that will be successful in their forever homes.

Selecting Youth Participants

The process begins with the Multi-Disciplinary Team (usually, their Unit Manager, Unit Case Coordinator, Unit Qualified Mental Health Provider, parent and/or other support members), who must approve a youth to begin process for hire for POOCH. This means there are no underlying safety concerns that would prevent the youth from working with live animals. Next, the youth’s name is presented to the MacLaren Administrative Review Committee. They look at several things: youth’s behavior such as when was their last Youth Incident Report and what was it for? The goal here is to avoid youth with physical aggression and/or other treatment concerns that would prevent success in the POOCH program.

Once the MARC process is complete and if they are approved, the Case Coordinator would have the youth submit an application to the MYCF vocation department to work at POOCH. Youth must write about their history with dogs, why they want to work with POOCH, and what they want to take away from their experience. From there POOCH worksite supervisors take the new applicant and conduct a formal interview (intentionally mirroring a job interview) and make a hiring decision based on kennel openings and overall crew chemistry.

Selecting Dogs

Project POOCH dogs represent a variety of breeds, personality types, and ages. We want our youth to learn how to adjust and adapt to varying conditions and challenges. By bringing in all types of dogs, the youth have to learn patience and modify their training to meet each dog’s needs and learning styles.

All our dogs come from shelters throughout the greater Portland metro area. We don’t take dogs from private individuals because we are trying to teach the youth that dogs are a lifetime commitment regardless of situational changes. Many of the youth in our program have broken relationships with their families, so accepting a dog that has been given up by his or her human is very difficult for them.

We often select dogs who have been in the shelter for some time and are having a difficult time being placed whether it is because they are shutting down, extremely hyper, need training and/or socialization, or the shelter is overcrowded. We accept dogs who we think will benefit from and succeed in our unique program.

Why POOCH Matters

Research has shown that the work of Project POOCH resonates with our youth long after they leave MacLaren. Sandra Merriam, Ph.D., a researcher at Pepperdine University, surveyed MacLaren staff and youth enrolled in the program in structured interviews. She reviewed recidivism data and found zero recidivism among the Project POOCH youth she interviewed, and she reported the following:

Based on survey responses from the staff at MacLaren, the youths who participated in Project POOCH showed marked behavior improvement in the areas of respect for authority, social interaction and leadership. Program youth interviewed reported that they felt they had changed and improved in the areas of honesty, empathy, nurturing, social growth, understanding, self-confidence and pride of accomplishment.

Most importantly, the youth who participate in the program almost always walk away with a stronger sense of self and compassion. Hearing their stories is the best part of working with Project POOCH. I will leave you with a quote from one of our youths that touched my heart:

In the past, I used to not be concerned with much besides my own needs, but I realize this wasn’t very healthy for me. But now, when I walk up to the entrance to POOCH and I hear all the barking coming from the kennels, I get excited. By working and being with these dogs, I find myself caring more and more about how they are and how they’re progressing in their training. I also think about how they’re doing every day that I’m away from them. Being taught to care for and appreciate these animals, along with the interaction we have with people from the outside, we learn to have compassion for things other than ourselves. – B.N.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Project Pooch, Inc.

Location: Lake Oswego, OR - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Sarah Bradham
Lake Oswego, OR United States
$70,703 raised of $100,000 goal
 
1,605 donations
$29,297 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Project Pooch, Inc. has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.