We have three carefully planned PHASES. Each subsequent phase builds on the previous one(s). To maximize safety and well-being for all, a pilot study (Phase I) will be run three times. The full program (Phase II) will be limited to six participants and six dogs.
Pilot Project: In this phase, we will be working with two youth and two dogs in preparation for facilitating the larger group in the full program. Two youth-dog teams will be trained in each of three runs of the 8-week pilot.
Program Start-up: After sufficient funds are raised, start-up will focus on screening, hiring, and orienting staff, training volunteers, ensuring sources of referrals, and training foster caregivers who will be housing the rescue dogs in between training sessions. Start-up will also involve setting up the facility to ensure safety standards are met.
In the Pilot and the Full Program, youth and rescue dogs will engage in Shake-A-Paw, 3 hours a day, three times a week for eight weeks.
The goal is to have these dogs be well-mannered in the context of a home setting with people. To this end, it is imperative that – while they are in the program – the dogs be housed in a home-like setting, not in a kennel. This will require foster homes for the shelter dogs and transportation to the program site.
Graduation: Family members and friends will be invited to a catered graduation ceremony. Dogs who have graduated from Shake-A-Paw will also be invited to attend. During the final week of their program, participants will be involved in preparation for graduation ceremonies and invited to apply for acceptance in Stand-By-Me.
Phase III is called Stand By Me. Stand By Me is a 6 month program in which youth will be exposed to canine-oriented occupational skills including training in dog grooming, dog-walking, pet-sitting, or operation of a doggy daycare business. Capacity for Stand By Me will be limited to ten youth.