Unusual program helps dogs and kids

By: Staff  Date: 01/12/2012 Category: | Rescue |

As a Boxer rescue representative, I've seen many wonderful dogs that are simply misunderstood. I have found that families often do not know that dogs, like children, need patience and guidance to reach their full potential.

Love, by itself, is not enough. One of the biggest challenges of rescue is to make potential adoptees see each dog's character and possibilities, not just what's on the surface. It takes time and effort to make canines and humans into useful citizens who can live together. I don't have enough time to completely train the rescue dogs, so I always suggest an obedience class to the adoptive families and make myself available for information and advice.

When Joan Dalton of the Maclaren School, Oregon's juvenile detention center, told me that a boy had asked for a Boxer to train in the "Pooch Patrol," I was both nervous and hopeful. Joan asked if I would be willing to place a rescued Boxer in the obedience program. As a mother of three boys, my maternal instincts and my curiosity got the best of me, so I went to Maclaren to learn more.

Pooch Patrol has been part of the school's curriculum for four years. The dogs come from shelters and rescue programs; the boys are chosen to participate and are closely supervised. I spent time talking to these young men and was impressed with their attitudes towards the dogs and their questions about health care, training, and breed-specific characteristics.

Most dogs in shelters are surrendered because they have behavior problems. The lessons learned in the Maclaren classes benefit the dogs and the boys. With proper care and training, the dogs can become useful members of society as therapy dogs and companions and the boys will become productive employees and citizens and responsible parents.

All dogs in the program are spayed or neutered. Great care is taken to match the dog to the appropriate adoptive family. Prospective homes are carefully screened and visited.

Pooch Patrol relies on donations to operate. They need training tools, learning materials, health supplies, food, money for veterinary bills, and grooming supplies. Adoptive families pay $75 for each dog, but this does not cover the cost of food and care for the dogs during the eight-to-12 weeks they spend in the program.

Please consider donating to Maclaren or other similar programs. Obedience training makes every dog more placeable; programs such as the Pooch Patrol assure that the training benefits the boys during the process. This program proves there are many opportunities for dogs and people to enrich each others' lives and grow together. It just takes some creative thinking and the willingness to follow through.

Patti Webb rescues Boxers for the Oregon Boxer Club

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