Helping Hounds Project
A program built on the premise that dogs and people together can become the catalyst
for a positive change in each other’s lives.
On 1 March 2011, 7 HSHC shelter dogs were delivered to the Muscogee County Youth
Development Campus to participate in Helping Hounds. Each dog was partnered with
a youth offender at the facility. The dogs live at a specially designed kennel on
campus. Each young man is responsible for the daily feeding, watering, exercise
and training of their canine companion. Twice a week they receive instruction from
HSHC adult volunteers in the training of their charge.
During each dog’s stay (approximately 10 weeks) they receive hours of daily love
and attention from their young partner. In addition, they work on mastering various
obedience skills, sit/stay, down/stay, heel, recall and maybe a trick or two thrown
in as well. Their regular walking schedule puts most on the fast track for housebreaking
By the end of the ten-week period each dog will leave ready to be a wonderful family
member. The youth at the end of their stay will re-enter their community with a
compassion, empathy and respect for all living beings that they may have never experienced
before. In addition, they will have gained job and personal skills to be self-supporting
and productive members of their community.
Programs such as Helping Hounds exist in various forms through out the country working
with both youth and adult offenders. Dogs are trained to be companion, service and
working dogs. The most telling statistic as to the success of these programs with
youth offenders is that the recidivism rate for those who complete these programs
is 0%. That is no youth go on to be repeat offenders, NONE! That number is repeated
all over the country.
Nothing can compare to seeing a young man sit on the floor of a dog’s kennel and
hug and love a dog who joyfully returns that attention with wiggles and licks each
oblivious to anything else around them. Unconditional love.
OUR HELPING HOUND DOGS: Please see full descriptions with breed mixes, ages and