Canine Advocates for Rehabilitation and Education
"An Animal Assisted Therapy Program" A 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization
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The mission of C.A.R.E. is to unite at-risk teens and homeless dogs in an experiential therapeutic learning/training environment which will result in healthy, positive outcomes for the participants, the dogs, rescue groups and shelters in the communities where C.A.R.E. serves.
How do we achieve this?
The teens train the dogs in basic obedience, making the dogs more adoptable – studies show that most dogs who are relinquished have no training whatsoever. In return, the dogs provide a steady stream of unconditional acceptance and love, something many of these teens have never experienced.
In working with the dogs and seeing first-hand how what they’re doing helps needy dogs, the teens realize that they can indeed ‘do good’ and that they have something positive to offer. In this process, they learn compassion, how to be a benevolent leader, patience, empathy, all of which will serve them beyond their experience in the C.A.R.E. Program.
How C.A.R.E. Was “Born” ~
In the early 1990s, C.A.R.E. Founder Debby Dobson was working as a youth counselor with at-risk teenaged girls and having difficulty connecting with one of her clients. In a moment of inspiration, she took the girl to a local animal shelter and watched in amazement as her whole demeanor transformed the moment she stepped in. The previously uncommunicative teen laughed, smiled and began talking animatedly. Debby realized that she had stumbled onto something important – something that could be used as an effective tool to reach troubled teens. She reasoned that if this could benefit one client, it could benefit others, so she began bringing all her “girls” to the shelter on a regular basis. Because they relaxed when they were with the animals, Debby noticed that they began to share more openly during counseling sessions, which in turn enhanced and accelerated the work they did together.
So, what began as an awkward initial encounter between a counselor and her client has evolved into an experiential Animal Assisted Therapy program designed to be a win-win situation for both the teens and the dogs.
Research and Development of C.A.R.E. ~
C.A.R.E. is the result of hundreds of hours of research and many conversations with people across the country who run similar programs. It stresses safety and understanding canine body language, being a responsible dog owner, the severity of the problem of unwanted puppies and dogs, positive training methods and the long history of companionship that dogs and humans have shared over the centuries.
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