BONNERS FERRY — Boulder Creek Academy has been helping youth for the past 25 years. They assist young men and women who have had trouble in traditional schooling by allowing them to learn at their own pace in the therapeutic boarding school.
One of the ways they help the students is through caring for, training, or simply interacting with animals. They have implemented a program allowing the students to care for foster dogs as they wait to be adopted to a fur-ever home. The students feed ‘their’ dog, walk it, work with training, and socializing the animal.
The academy is partnered with Thompson River Animal Care Shelter (TRACS), located in Thompson Falls, Mont., which is where they get the dogs. TRACS receives dogs from all around the country and world from various organizations such as high kill shelters and even the Korean meat market. Some dogs would be put down due to medical issues, so the shelter takes them in, provides medical care for them, and helps them find a home.
On Dec. 15, Boulder Creek Academy hosted an adoption day, encouraging local residents to meet the foster dogs and take one home.
“We love the opportunity of partnering with TRACS to provide opportunities for people in our area to adopt a foster dog,” said Boulder Creek Academy Animal Program Manager Troi Morris.
The Animal Husbandry class at the academy gives the students an academic credit to care for the dogs. The program allows them to form a bond with their charge and some students have even adopted and taken their dog home.
“Its helped me a lot,” said student Gianni Polito. “It is a great therapeutic tool. When I get overwhelmed I come up to visit Bobby.”
Bobby is a small terrier mix who does a happy feet dance when he is approached in his pen. Bobby and Polito have formed a special friendship, helping each other through a trying time.
Though the day resulted in a smaller turnout than what was hoped for, there were still several dogs adopted, a few of them via online.
“I just came to look,” said Judy Voth, who was visiting and ended up taking home a chihuahua named Dakota. “I was attracted to her eyes and coloring. She is kind of different.”
With a variety of dogs that have been handled and worked with, the program increases the chances for the dogs to be adopted. They receive medical care, sterilization, grooming, and training, all of which helps increase the chances of the dogs being adopted.
For more information on TRACS and to view some of the animals that are up for adoption, visit www.pet-tracs.com.
For more information on the Boulder Creek Academy, visit www.bouldercreekacademy.com.