Debby Dobson, of Cottonwood, Ariz., understands the bond between children and dogs. Her dream is to bring troubled dogs and teens together to form a partnership that will put both on a better path. Dobson is so convinced of the good dogs and teens can bring each other that she is working toward her goal: to make C.A.R.E. (Canine Advocates for Rehabilitation and Education) a reality.
Her vision is to pair up troubled kids with dogs who are in shelters but have potential. “There is no shortage of homeless dogs and at-risk teens,” Dobson said. “The dogs will be trained by the kids and will have all their AKC Canine Good Citizen manners and be ready to be adopted. The kids will learn a number of things, how to change a life and make more positive choices.”
Dobson’s passion comes from her career as a counselor for at-risk teens and her “way” with animals. “I have always loved dogs,” she said. The idea came to Dobson when she was working with troubled youth and found that trips to the local shelter to pet and work with animals would accelerate kids’ progress and help them open up. “Animals bridge the gap,” she said. “They are non-judgmental; they are just completely accepting and they love the attention.”
Marta Adeslman, who has a doctorate in psychology, believes in Dobson’s idea. “It’s a fabulous idea to pair troubled teens and dogs that need homes. It is just a win-win,” Adeslman said. “Debby is organized and has all the components linked up, and it will be a very successful program.” Adeslman has seen the connection Dobson has with animals first-hand. “Her heart beats as one with animals,” she said. “I have watched her with my dog and others, and she just has a good feel for dogs and what they need. I am excited for the possibilities of the program. I think that at-risk teens have low self-esteem. I know animals can bring things alive in people, and for teens it just might be strength.”
Dobson’s plan is to look for positive traits in the dogs and teens. “The dogs and kids will be screened. The dogs should want to be with people, have no signs of aggression and be smart,” Dobson said. “The kids need to have a commitment for the length of the program. They need to like dogs, be able to learn to be patient, and leave anger management issues behind.”
Dobson hopes C.A.R.E. dogs will bring such a positive message to the community that people will be waiting for the dogs to graduate and be ready to bring them into their homes and families. “It’s all about success in the relationship. I want success for the kids and the dogs,” Dobson said. For the kids, success will be self-esteem. “I want the kids to know at the end of the program that what they think they know about themselves might not be correct. They need to know they are good. They believe they will never be part of the mainstream. We want them to feel a bigger part of the whole.”
Dobson is geared up and ready to go, but the only hurdle keeping her dream from happening is a $5,000 shortfall for liability insurance. “As soon as we get the money for insurance, I am ready to go,” she said.
Debby Dobson Did Good Today!
Want to learn more? Visit: www.caredogs.org
Or “like” C.A.R.E. on Facebook at:http://www.facebook.com/pages/CARE-Canine-Advocates-for-Rehabilitation-and-Education/136441919745373