At-risk teens befriend homeless dogs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

At-risk teens befriend homeless dogs

July 29, 2006

Albany -- Homeless dogs help some young Dougherty County juveniles learn to live better lives. The Paws Patrol organization partnered Juveniles from the Albany Regional Youth Detention Center with dogs from a local humane society. It's part of a program called Project Hero.

The dogs' time with at-risk teens is meant to benefit both groups.

Throughout a six-week timespan, the Paws Patrol group brought these homeless animals over to the detention center, to spend time with juveniles. The young people took care of the animals by teaching them to do things like walk on leash and feel comfortable with humans.

Some of those homeless dogs were adopted today, and some of the juveniles have a changed outlook on life.

These four-legged friends are up for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County. Many of the dogs have a sweet disposition.

"I really like dogs and I like having them around and playing with them," said Helen Chancey.

As for people adopting dogs today, some complete strangers helped socialize these dogs through a program called Project Hero.

We can't show the faces or tell you the names of the seven young juveniles who helped prepare these dogs for adoption. Program coordinator Marty Harris says she's seen a positive change in the young people's lives.

"A lot of them have not grown up with a nurturing aspect toward animals, so by helping them to understand how to work with animals and care for animals they learn to care for other human beings," said Marty Harris.

Because of the time spent with the at-risk teens, the dogs are now ready for a new home.

"I could play ball with him, I could play fetch with him," said Drew Burrell.

That playtime is like the time spent with the youth at the detention center.

Project Hero is a partnership of two groups in trouble in society, so life will be better for both.

Statements by some by the at-risk teens say that they've learned to care for another life, and that care is something they can share with other humans too.

All the dogs up for adoption are from the Humane Society of Terrell County. If you want to take a closer look at any of the animals call the humane society at (229) 698-6055 or visit www.hstco.org.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=ProjectHero/NJ