POOCH youth walking dogs
For 18 years, Project POOCH (Positive Opportunities--Obvious Change with Hounds) has paired incarcerated young males with dogs from shelters. The mission of Project POOCH is to teach: responsibility, patience, and compassion for all life.
The youth work with their dogs daily teaching positive reinforcement so that the dogs can pass the Canine Good Citizen test before being adopted out to the public. In the process, the youth learn about themselves and how to be good citizens when they return to society.
Over the years, Project POOCH has helped youth transition from incarceration back into everyday life and aided in helping them become responsible, active members within their communities. We are proud to say that a former POOCH youth joined the military and is now serving his country in Kuwait. He says: "POOCH was truly a life changer for me, thank you for the support over the years.”
Teaching youth to take care of, and work with the shelter dogs, provides both dog and human with a positive experience; in some cases the first time either might have experienced unconditional love! As a result of this pairing we find that the feeling of unconditional love stays with the youth when they leave behind a life of incarceration. Another former youth frequently asks for a visit from the dog he trained while in the POOCH program.
A random study on 100 of our former youth showed zero recidivism. Our mission is to save ONE dog and ONE youth at a time!!! With patience and compassion we will continue working with both in the years to come!!