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Partners in Change: Psychological & Community Services, PLC

720 W. Wackerly, Suite 11

Midland, MI 48650




Program Testimonials

When approached to help with this program, my first thoughts were not optimistic. Untrained dogs and unskilled trainers are not an ideal match! In the best of circumstances and this certainly is not that. But I have been amazed at how hard these kids work for us. The progress they make with the dogs is phenomenal, even though the people the dogs live with often do not follow through with the training. Another mark against success! Yet all you could qualify this program with is success. The kids don't just train the dogs, they learn about their own behavior. They learn how to teach. They learn a little bit about how to show compassion. They learn about impulse control. They take these skills out into their world and reap the benefits. On more than one occasion I and my instructors have been overwhelmed when we see a small success in a child that may not have known much about success or praise. Or when one of the kids tells us how they used a skill they learned training dogs to help them in their daily life. How they remembered teaching impulse control to the dogs and using it on themselves when the training was a little frustrating-and then were able to transfer that into interactions with other people. There are a hundred individual stories we could tell you about after only a few sessions. But we have stayed involved because we can see and feel the difference that can be made through our involvement. That such a program can make such a difference; that we hear reports from teachers and other mental health professionals about the improvements the kids make in their behavior-wow! It is worthwhile work that we can all do here. Thanks to the vision and skills of Angela for putting this program together for the advancement of these valuable kids. And to the aid of Partners In Change because without their generosity, programs such as these would not be available for the good of our community.

- Brenda Aloff, Owner, Heaven on Arf

I'm forever thankful for his (youth trainer) tremendous patience and guidance while training Jake, and also teaching me so much about my dog. I know Jake would not be the dog he is without your help. Thank you for all that you do.

- Meghan Green, Adopter

I was really impressed with seeing how the youth engage with their dog. They were demonstrating joy, care and pride when the dog did what they wanted to do. I really like hearing how the skills they learn and use with the dogs transfer over to other situations when dealing with peers and parents!

- Michele Bell, Director of Court Services and Program Development

We had Murray in the program and I believe the experience was great for him. I also thought the kids were good about keeping me informed of his progress when I came to pick him up from class.

- Trisha Hadley, Adopter

Just like with dogs, I have to be calm with people, they react to voice level and what you’re doing, just like dogs. If I worked with people like I do with dogs, life wouldn’t be so hard.

- Program Participant

As a volunteer for Pawsitive Helpers, I get to see children transform as their assigned dogs learn new skills. When the students first start working with their dogs, they are unsure how to illicit a desired behavior. The trainers take the students through the steps needed to get a desired response using positive reinforcement. Each dog enters the training situation with a definite list of needs and the students have to figure out what those needs are and then how to address them. Kathy, Diane, and Brenda give the students step by step instructions and allow the kids to practice skills under their guidance. As the students gain confidence, they are able to get the dogs to take risks and learn new skills. Throughout the training, situations the children go through are equated to situations that the dogs may have gone through so the children are able to connect with their dogs on a deeper level. It is unbelievable to see how the children grow over the course of the program. Angela does an amazing job of educating the children on topics with dogs while also addressing the children's specific needs. There are no losing points for this program as students, dogs, trainers, staff and volunteers all partner together and make lasting connections.

- JoLynn Mason, Volunteer

This dog has taught me a lot about patience, and that getting frustrated and giving up doesn't help anyone.

- Program Participant

I am so incredibly impressed with this program. I am a veterinarian who works with GLBAS and have had several foster dogs go thru the training. These are dogs that may have been pulled from a shelter or surrendered to our rescue group for a multitude of reasons. These dogs can come with baggage that is manifested in a variety of behavioral issues. I am so impressed and in awe of what these young people can do with these dogs in a relatively short period of time. The dogs start with issues and end with confidence. Ultimately, this translates into a dog that is happier and will do better in its adoptive home. That speaks volumes and its value cannot be calculated for the dog and family. In turn, because of interacting with the trainers, I have seen their confidence grow as they share how the dog has done in class and what I need to work on at home.I am honored, privileged, and blessed to be witness to the successes of PAWSitive Helpers.

- Jane W. Lacher, DVM

I wish the group didn’t end, I built too big of a relationship with my dog, it was hard to let go.

- Program Participant

I learned really you can do just about anything if you want to, but you have to want to do it.

- Program Participant

The most challenging thing for me was letting her go, I learned I can’t get over a dog.

- Program Participant

I learned I’m really good with dogs, they can tell how I’m feeling.

- Program Participant