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Program Teaches Troubled Youths To Teach Dogs

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By Charles E. Ramirez for The Detroit News

Mount Clemens — Canine companionship is helping some local kids turn around their troubled pasts at the Macomb County Juvenile Justice Center.

A program called Teacher’s Pet has them train dogs taken in by animal control, helping them develop responsibility, empathy and self-esteem — and, eventually, finding homes for the strays.

“The dogs can be frustrating to work with sometimes, but it’s good to have someone to talk to when things aren’t going right,” said Lindsay, 15, who has been in the program for a couple of months. “I like knowing that I helped these dogs find a good home.”

The program was started about 14 months ago with youths and six dogs in hourlong sessions held twice a week for about six weeks.

Since then, the center has expanded it to 20 youths and 14 dogs in sessions held Tuesday through Friday, said Berry Treadwell, the program’s coordinator. The sessions for girls and boys are held separately.

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