Our mission at Kids and Canines is twofold:
- To change the lives of at-risk youth
- To provide trained assistance dogs to individuals with
disabilities and children with autism
At-risk middle school students are selected with the help of their teachers, counselors, therapists and parents. Our students learn to care for, groom and train the dogs during the school day. Staying in the program depends on the students’ attendance, behavior and academic performance. Working with the dogs is such a powerful motivator that most participants show dramatic improvement in all three areas. Students also learn responsibility, patience and teamwork, develop self-confidence and respect for themselves and others, and improve communication, anger management and leadership skills.
Our dogs begin their training as 8 week-old puppies and live with volunteer “Puppy Raisers” for the next 18 to 24 months. During this training period, the dogs go to school each day, where they are groomed and trained by students.
At the end of their training, and depending on client needs and dog skills and temperament, each dog is placed with a child with autism, an individual with physical disabilities, or in a therapeutic facility such as a special needs school, rehabilitation facility, or crisis counseling center.
This report from ABC Action News outlines the Kids and Canines process: