Human helps animal, animal helps human right back
May 10, 2011 9:57 PM   Subscribe

I want to donate some money to a program that matches people and animals for mutual rehabilitation

Something like pit bulls and prisoners. What programs or organizations should I look into? Type of animal (dogs, horses, wild animals) and type of human (gender, age, condition/situation) are not so important, so long as the program is focused on helping both the person and the animal.
posted by Opal to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I noticed from a previous question that you're in New York City; if you'd like to support something in your state, there is the New Leash On Life program, a partnership between the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA in Hudson, NY, and the Columbia County Jail. Certain prisoners are selected to learn how to train dogs in basic obedience; they then keep the dog in their cell for the six-week program. The dogs are adopted out afterward.

You could contact this particular Humane Society/SPCA and see if they take donations (I can't imagine why they wouldn't). They might also know about similar programs.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:29 PM on May 10, 2011

You might consider an organization that provides temporary foster care for pets in situations of domestic violence. These groups do really great work. You'd be surprised how often women linger in terrible situations because they have nowhere to go with the dog. The organizations provide foster homes for the pets of domestic abuse survivors, enabling them to leave the home and receive services/shelter in places and programs that may not be equipped to accept pets. They can then be reunited once a new home has been established. It keeps the pets out of shelters/violent homes and keeps women in bad situations from losing what is sometimes their only friend.

Similarly, there are some pretty super programs that help to take care of the pets of the terminally ill, homebound, elderly, etc. when caring for a pet becomes physically too difficult for them. (an example here.) This is great for the pet because it keeps them in their home. But, it's even better for the people who, now, in addition to losing their health and independence, don't have to lose their furry buddies as well. There are plenty of studies indicating pets helpfulness in recovery from illness as well as being an excellent way to help dispel feelings of isolation. Everyone wins!
posted by troublewithwolves at 11:39 PM on May 10, 2011

You might want to look into organisations like Therapet and Pets as therapy. They take pets to visit people in hospitals/nursing homes/special needs schools etc., and the animals involved are often from shelters/rescues.
posted by primer_dimer at 1:20 AM on May 11, 2011

Another option might be a place that rescues and rehabilitates horses, then uses them as therapy for disabled people/kids. You might check in your area, or I found this one in Georgia.
posted by Glinn at 5:16 AM on May 11, 2011

Ooh! I have one for you!

Project POOCH is a program at the MacLaren youth correctional facility in Oregon that teaches the incarcerated kids there to prepare shelter dogs for adoption. These are generally dogs that have behavior problems or other issues that make them hard to adopt, but they come out of the program with socialization and basic obedience training. The boys in the program learn responsibility, interpersonal skills, and job skills they can use when they get out (not necessarily limited to dog training, some boys are also involved in administration of the program). They also get access to mentorship from the steady community volunteers who are involved.
posted by juliapangolin at 9:02 AM on May 11, 2011

"Hearts & Hooves miniature horses and guardian therapy dogs go into facilities providing emotional and spiritual healing to everyone they encounter."

Hearts and Hooves
posted by xarnop at 11:15 AM on May 11, 2011

On reading that your requirements included therapeutic benefits to the animals as well I'm not sure that is the direct purpose of Hearts and Hooves, but I know the woman who runs it and she absolutely loves horses and dogs and has most of her life living with them. From talking to her, I get the feeling that she believes that animals love to give love to humans as humans love to give love to animals and the relationship of giving on both ends is therapeutic for both.

I'm not sure where you're located, but obviously looking for something near you might be more meaningful and you could visit the animals some times!
posted by xarnop at 11:26 AM on May 11, 2011

I remembered your question when reading this news article today. I think some of the Louisiana SPCA's programs such as Project Humane would fit your criteria. SPCA groups in other areas may have comparable programs.
posted by unsub at 10:25 AM on June 12, 2011

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