A dog-gone great partnership helps both students and pooches | Hillsides

A dog-gone great partnership helps both students and pooches

Children have an affinity for animals, especially those in need. Students at the Hillsides Education Center (HEC) partnered with a charity, K9 Youth Alliance, to help dogs at the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA find homes.

Seven teens were matched with shelter dogs, then spent three weeks teaching the dogs skills to help the canines get adopted, such as how to sit and stay. Their efforts paid off: Seven of the dogs they trained found families.

In addition, the students learned important skills beyond dog training: “The experience helped me learn how to be more patient and respectful of boundaries,” said one student. Another said that interacting with his two shelter dogs, Guerro, a Chihuahua mix, and Giselle, a Miniature Pinscher mix, inspired him to be “calm, competent, and brave.”

HEC Director of Education Alicia Jennings praised the course for being meaningful for the students on many levels. “It helps them develop confidence, compassion, and leadership skills as well as process their own history of trauma all while helping the community,” she said.

The program culminated with a graduation ceremony where the students showed off their handling skills by leading their partner dogs through an obstacle course. They also gave emotional speeches about their experiences.

The school, further showing its dedication to dogs, held a Read-A-Thon to benefit the Humane Society. The students read over 8,000 pages while raising nearly $2,000, proving that when kids and dogs are involved, anything is paws-ible.



We provide home-based family care (formerly known as foster care) to help children and youth heal from the effects of trauma. Included in the home-based care are treatment and adoption services for children and youth ranging from newborn to 21 years old. >
Our centers offer numerous community-based programs and services that provide parenting classes, mental health support, and additional crucial resources for vulnerable children and families throughout Los Angeles County, including the San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena. >
We offer comprehensive family support and individual mental health treatment for children and adolescents, ages 6 to 17. This program includes a Residential Treatment Center (RTC), a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), as well as coordinated family and aftercare programming. >
Youth Moving On, with support from The Everychild Foundation, provides former foster youth affordable quality housing and numerous support services to help them become responsible, self-sufficient adults. >

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