Green Chimneys Receives Fifth Grant from the Petco Foundation for Dog Interaction Program

April 16, 2020

For the fifth year in a row, Green Chimneys has received a grant from the Petco Foundation’s Helping Heroes in-store fundraising campaign in partnership with Merrick Pet Care. This year’s grant of $2,500 recognizes the value of Green Chimneys’ engaging Dog Interaction Program and enables us to keep it strong.

Image of Green Chimneys School students with rescue dogs at a community event

Piloted in 2014, the Dog Interaction Program has become a popular – and permanent – addition to Green Chimneys’ animal-assisted therapy program. Under a professional trainer’s supervision, our students help socialize shelter dogs, thus, improving their chances for adoption. During their 6-week training session, the canine “students” live on campus 24/7 and have frequent contact with our children and staff. You can see them visiting classrooms, participating in therapy sessions, enjoying time with teens at our Arbor House shelter and even “starring” in off-campus events including community health & wellness fairs.

The best news is the great success the program has had!

The adopting families, students and Green Chimneys staff have all benefited. We’re quite certain, based on their frisky and friendly behavior, the dogs have benefited as well.

Some key dog program activities this past year:

  • Last spring, students in Canine Vocational class took a field trip to Animals for Adoption in Accord, NY, where they learned about running a shelter. In addition to other tasks, students helped the construction crew finish an outdoor building project and were responsible for the correct placement of agility training equipment throughout the yard. They worked alongside shelter staff while learning about fund development, social media outreach and community building.
  • Students from our Shelter Dog and Advanced Shelter Dog Vocational Training classes took a field trip to Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY last May, where they participated in the Health & Wellness Fair. Students focused on program outcomes, which led them to offer suggestions which would help to improve the adoption process.
  • This past year, students in our Canine Vocational Training course participated in therapy dog evaluations. Under the careful supervision of the shelter owner, students helped choose the dogs that will go on to take a prep class where they will learn skills necessary to work in hospitals, nursing homes and schools as therapy dogs.
  • Students in our Advanced Shelter Dog Vocational Training course helped teach the shelter dogs obedience skills necessary to pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen test. Specific skills taught include sitting politely for greeting, walking nicely on a leash and acceptance of handling.
Prior funding from the Petco Foundation has supported Green Chimneys Dog Interaction Program and has contributed to its significant growth.

This new funding enables us to not only maintain our expanded program also allows us to concentrate on adding new opportunities for more therapeutic interaction between children and dogs. To date, we’ve had 189 canine “graduates” and nearly all of them have found permanent loving homes. We are so grateful to the Petco Foundation for their support of this innovative program.

Learn more about the Dog Interaction Program