Dog Training Program Helps Mentally Ill Individuals

A dog-training therapy program is proving to be a successful project in Chatham County in North Carolina. The UNC Paws program matches people with mental illnesses with shelter dogs to prepare them for adoption.

“We are the last best hope for many of these dogs,” says program manager Bryan Ragan.

The people at the Center for Excellence and Community Mental Health learn how to make our four-legged buddies family-ready.

The dogs are from the Chatham County Animal Shelter, a high- kill shelter, and now the dogs have a second shot at life.

Dog Training Program Helps Mentally Ill Individuals

“To get the dogs out of the shelter and get them really good homes, that means everything and they are really good dogs,” said senior trainer Melissa Taylor.

Training lasts for 12 weeks at The Farm at Penny Lane in Pittsboro. Bryan Ragan teaches the students how to train the dogs for their forever homes.

“We are training them to be really phenomenal pets,” he said. “So we are starting with the essential command: come, sit, stay and down.”

He added that the training doesn’t only help the dogs.It helps the humans, too.

“Animal contact has several proven psychological benefits for students,” he said. “You can look at research on lowered blood pressure. You can look at research on lower heart rate and those are great.”

UNC Paws will put the pooches up for adoption once the dogs finish their training.


Image and article source: WNCN

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