October, 17 2017
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Troubled Teens and Canine Assisted Therapy
The pooches are pound dogs and the handlers are high school at-risk youth.
Two sets of underdogs teaming up in a life full of obstacles.
"These kids are in a special school and locked down pretty tight," said Glen Zipper of K9 Connection.
How This Program Helps Teens
"By introducing the dogs it's like a key that opens the door and we can reach in and work with whatever these kids need help with."
It's called the K9 Connection. The kids get in to fulfill a community service requirement. They have three weeks to train the dogs to help make them more adoptable; a big responsibility in more ways than one.
"He's bigger than me," said Vanessa Castillo about her dog Elton, a head-strong 4-year-old mastiff. His future, like that of other dogs here, depends on how well these kids train them.
"It helps students stay in school for the whole day and do their homework every day or just feel that someone needs them and someone loves them," Castillo said.
A Successful Treatment Program for Dogs and Teens
Organizers say the adoption success rate over the past three years is perfect for these dogs. These dogs if they choose are not perfect they pick the dogs that have flaws because they say that's why it works so well with the kids.
"They see something of themselves in the dogs," said Zipper.
"Like Rosie is missing an arm and the student that trained her has a disability so it's like looking in a mirror and they say if this dog can be helped I can be helped."
This could be the last time these kids and dogs see eachother. It's graduation day. A little pomp and circumstance and plenty of encouragement from their parents.
A kind of guide dog program: troubled teens and tossed way canines hoping to guide each other back on track.
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