Project POOCH began with one dog and one youth in 1993. Since then, Project POOCH has paired hundreds of shelter dogs with hundreds of incarcerated youth at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility.
The youth in the program train, groom and care for the shelter dogs while incarcerated. They learn the life skills of responsibility, patience and compassion while working with the animals, and leave the program with vocational skills. The youth pursue a canine education certification, and leave corrections with proof of the courses completed, including proof of certification for pet first aid. Many Project POOCH alums work with dogs upon release from corrections.
Project POOCH also has an overwhelmingly positive impact on the welfare of dogs in the program. Project POOCH saves dogs from shelters that often have histories of neglect, abuse or abandonment, even saving some from euthanasia. These dogs then receive veterinary care. This includes a neuter or spay, and bringing the dogs up to date on vaccinations. Because these dogs often come from unfortunate backgrounds, we frequently see dogs in poor health due to lack of dental care or proper nutrition. These dogs are seen by a veterinarian and a treatment plan is developed.
Before we find these dogs permanent homes, they are microchipped, groomed and trained to be a canine good citizen. The microchipping process ensures that dogs will be recoverable if they are lost in the future. The dogs are then trained by the youth in order to pass the Canine Good Citizenship (CGC test).
Dogs are then ready for adoption, and we carefully screen applicants to guarantee that we have found the right home for the dogs in our program. Our adoption process involves a home visit and a trial overnight. If any dogs need a “brush up” on their training, we provide it for the life of the dog.
Funded by Portland, OR (November 2016)