SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Kids who have to spend their days at the Long Creek Youth Development Center, are always looking for something positive to come out of the experience. Now, thanks to a new program, some of them are able to make some PAW-Sitive changes.
The puppy program pairs select student residents of Long Creek with pups for six weeks of basic training and companionship. The dogs are housed directly with their student handlers who take care of all of the details like daily care, socialization, crate training and house training.
"Essentially it's a canine training program that pairs the youth with rescue puppies. So all the puppies are coming from shelters where they would've been euthanized. So in a sense, the youth are saving their lives and getting them ready to be adopted." said Molly Fitzpatrick the founder of Pawsitive Changes.
After the 6 weeks of training, the dogs head to shelters where they ultimately get adopted. Then another set up puppies comes into Long Creek to be trained. It can be hard for the kids to say goodbye to their furry friends as one of the trainers put it.
"It's sad when the dogs leave, I don't want to give them up. But I'm just glad that I got to have him for the time and help them and teach him all the stuff that he deserves to have."