Henry has this neighbor kid, who we’ll call “Arthur.” He was about 13 in fall 2016, when he inspired us to create Paws for Kids for Paws. Henry had known Arthur for a couple years, but he’d been struggling: Having struggles in school, fighting with his parents, getting in trouble, at risk of getting arrested. He has been a chronic run away. He’s had a lot of interactions in all the negative circles. It hadn’t helped him move forward, but he’s a good kid with a good heart.
In knowing Henry, he made a connection with her dogs. She started having him come over to help train her dogs. Those interactions helped him a lot and changes started to happen. It gave him some structure and some goals. It helped him understand you could have correction instead of punishment. It helped him start moving in the right direction. He’s still got a way to go, but at least he was going in the right direction more often. He’s now trying to find ways to succeed and do better, even though he doesn’t have it all figured out.
So that triggered the light bulb in us. This was something we could do. It’s connected with dogs. We know how many dogs need help and engagement – in rescues and shelters, not getting homed. Then there’s all sorts of “Square Peg” kids, like Tricia and Henry were as children. They that don’t quite fit the typical mold, need non-traditional outlets, need ways to be successful.