A unique class at a youth detention center in California is connecting troubled teens with abandoned dogs. The kids and animals are helping each other find a second chance.
‘Pawsitive Impact’ is the most popular hour inside the Sacramento Youth Detention Facility. The class connects dogs looking for a better future to kids with troubled pasts.
"They could be coming here for petty theft, they could come here for murder, robbery," said facility chief Brian Lee.
Every teen in the program seems to light up with each encounter.
"They drop that serious look of ‘I'm tough and I need to protect myself,’ and now they just become kids again,” Chief Lee said.
PREVIOUS: Bride replaces bouquets with puppies
Three times a week organizers from Pawsitive Impact ask the kids for their help to train the dogs to make them more adoptable.
Over the course of a month, the teens teach the animals basic commands like “sit” and “stay.”
"These are shelter dogs, so maybe they've been abused, neglected, abandoned, they've gone through a lot in their lives,” explained Amanda Banks, executive director of the program. “So, the kids can connect with them on a deeper level, because maybe they've gone through some similar things."
PREVIOUS: Fake service dogs are becoming a problem
The class hasn’t only been a hit with the kids, it’s also been wildly successful for the dog. Every one of the 240 trained at the youth facility has been adopted.
Program leaders believe the kids will ultimately find success, too.
“They're motivated to work with these dogs, so it's making a difference,” Banks said.
All of the animals in Pawsitive Impact come from city-run shelters. The program is run by volunteers.