Our Youth-Canine programs pair at-risk youth with shelter dogs for a weeklong training program. Our Dog Trainer and volunteer Coaches help the youth to train the dogs on basic obedience using positive reinforcement methods. The young people learn responsibility, job readiness, anger management, parenting skills, leadership and positive life skills, while at the same time increasing the dog’s chances of adoption because of the basic obedience skills learned.
Since 2013, our Youth-Canine programs have saved more than 300 dogs and positively impacted more than 600 teens.
- Pawsitive Corrections: This program takes place once a month at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center. Incarcerated juveniles are paired up with shelter dogs from Indianapolis Animal Care Services, and the dogs stay overnight at the detention center for the week of the program.
- Hamilton County Youth-Canine: This program takes place at the Humane Society for Hamilton County in partnership with Fishers Youth Assistance program.
- Pups and Warriors (PAWs): This program takes place at Warren Central High School in partnership with Indianapolis Animal Care Services. In the past we have also partnered with Casa del Toro Pit Bull Rescue and S.O.A.R. Initiative.
See photos of the dogs who have graduated from these programs. Please visit our Facebook page for more information about each dog. These dogs are available for adoption directly through the shelter.
Youth-Canine Volunteer Needs
- Youth-Canine Coach: Youth-Canine Coaches serve as mentors to the youth in our Pawsitive Corrections Youth-Canine Program at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center. Youth-Canine Coach volunteers work under the supervision of the Dog Trainer/Youth-Canine Program Leader and provide guidance, support, and praise to the youth and ensure proper handling of the dogs. The program takes place one week per month on Tuesday-Friday from 3:20pm-5:20pm each day, and preference is given to volunteers who can participate in all four days to provide consistency for the youth in the program. No experience is required, but volunteers must be able to handle a strong dog. All volunteers must be 21 or older.
- Youth-Canine Evening Care: Evening Care volunteers help to care for the shelter dogs in the Youth-Canine Program in the evening after the program has ended for the day. These dogs stay overnight at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center during the week of the program, and Evening Care volunteers are responsible for helping to feed, walk, and toilet the dogs, administering any necessary medications to the dogs, and providing the dogs with love and affection. Evening Care volunteers are needed from 5:30pm-8:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the week of the program. No experience is required, but volunteers must be able to handle a strong dog. All volunteers must be 21 or older.
How to Volunteer with Youth-Canine
- Complete Paws & Think’s online volunteer application and background check.
- Contact the Youth-Canine Program Leader, Kim Trimpe, at firstname.lastname@example.org to let her know you are interested.
- If you would like to volunteer as a Youth-Canine Coach with the Pawsitive Corrections Program at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center, you will be required to either attend the program orientation prior to volunteering OR arrange with Kim to receive the program training at another time if you are unable to attend orientation.
- The Marion County Juvenile Detention Center requires that all volunteers with the Pawsitive Corrections Youth-Canine Program complete an annual TB test, annual PREA training, and an additional background check.
- Check our calendar for upcoming dates for the program.