Project Hero works to save youth and dogs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Project Hero works to save youth and dogs

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May 4, 2004

Albany- As the lead dog for Paws Patrol, 8-year-old Hero may not know it, but there are a lot of kids to be saved at Albany's Regional Youth Detention Center.

He visits the center every week.

But Tucker and Maggie are on extended stay. They're part of Project Hero . Paws Patrol is partnering with the Humane Society of Terrell County to get at-risk youth to help foster and train dogs that will eventually be adopted.

"It suddenly seemed to click together and make sense that if we took these animals that needed good homes and training and paired them up with the at-risk youth at the YDC, it could work miracles on both ends," who started Paws Patrol with Hero.

We can't tell you the name of the teen training Maggie, but we can tell how she'll sit, down, shake and even roll over at his command.

"It give me something to look forward to," the 16-year-old said. "Because when I ain't got nothing to do I can get an officer to take me to work with the dogs.

"I feel like we could pick up things we probably never thought we could do," he said.

That's the difference the training is making at the other end of the leash.

Tucker started out training with a 14-year-old boy at the center.

"When it's hot like this, he don't really do nothing," he said. "Until I go over there and play with him in the grass and roll over with him."

"Sometimes his behavior would be unmanageable," said Bill Riddle, assistant director at the center. "And we would have to do other things. Restrict him and restrict some privileges."

Until his time was consumed with four paws.

"During class, if his behavior began to escalate, he knew and he would be prompted, listen, there's a consequence. If you loose your gold card, you won't be able to work with Tucker. And that was enough for him."

After they're finished with training, Tucker and Maggie will be adopted to good homes, tricks included. Then the kids will begin with two new pound puppies.

And Hero will be along to lead the way in a project where just maybe he does know who he's saving.

posted at 11:24 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com

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