Youth Detention Center Connecting Troubled Kids with Shelter Dogs

Posted by Amber King
child with dog
All images via: CBS News

Everyone gets a second chance at this youth detention center in Sacramento, California.

Children and teens with troubled pasts move through the Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility looking for brighter futures. They attend classes and meetings, but the best part of every day is the hour they spend with homeless dogs.

Sacramento Youth Detention Facility Chief Brian Lee told CBS News that the youth in the program come from a number of different backgrounds. They've been charged with petty theft, robbery, and sometimes murder, but they're all given the same opportunities at a second chance.

shelter dog getting treat

Teens participating in the center's "Pawsitive Impact" program go a step further by returning the favor. Three times a week, teens come together to connect with homeless dogs. The dogs are scared and untrained, and the teens dedicate their time to helping them find homes. They teach the dogs simple commands that will make transitioning into a family easier, and many form unexpected bonds.

The executive director of Pawsitive Impact, Amanda Banks, said;

"These are shelter dogs, so maybe they've been abused, neglected, abandoned, they've gone through a lot in their lives to get into the shelter, so the kids can connect with them on a deeper level, because maybe they've gone through some similar things."

dog sitting

City shelters loan out the dogs trained in the program, and the adults who help are all volunteers. The teens view the dogs as their responsibility, and they're committed to making a positive difference in their lives. Teaching a scared dog something as simple as "sit" will greatly improve the dog's chances of being adopted. And with new command, the teens can be proud in their accomplishment.

For the dogs, the program has been overwhelmingly successful. All 240 animals, of all breeds, backgrounds, and temperaments, have been successfully placed in new homes. The dogs of the program leave their troubled pasts behind, and program directors hope the kids can do the same thing.

What do you think about Pawsitive Impact? Let us know in the comments.

All images via CBS News

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Youth Detention Center Connecting Troubled Kids with Shelter Dogs