Founded in Williamson County, Texas, in 2008, Kids-N-K9s and its sister program, Trails and Tails, have worked with nearly 200 youth, from those who were currently involved in the criminal justice system to those in high-risk circumstances currently receiving intervention services from Bluebonnet Trails MHMR.
Designed to work with youth in at-risk circumstances who experience persistent difficulty in school or their lives due to behavior issues, truancy, or other special circumstances such as learning disabilities, autism, etc., KNK9 offers an innovative approach to connection with the youth, pairing them with dogs for training therapy programs.
The students are responsible for training, exercising, grooming, and forming a good relationship with their dogs. The dogs challenge the students to work through issues and provide immediate feedback on the students’ progress through their behavior and willingness to work with them at any given moment. The dogs are very forgiving, see the students for who they are and not what they have done, and are always willing to give them a second chance to try again.
In addition to training the dogs, the students practice academic skills through relevant learning about dog-related topics. The relationship skills, patience, and valuable life skills the students learn from working with the dogs are processed through individual feedback and group discussions to help apply them to their lives.
The graduation ceremony is the program finale for our KNK9 Gold students, their families, and families who adopted dogs from the program. The students give a speech about what they learned from the program and demonstrate the tricks they taught their dog. We believe it is important for the students to be recognized for their outstanding achievement of saving a life, so they are presented with a diploma and photos of them with their dogs. We find years later, graduates still have their diplomas and pictures proudly displayed in their homes. Graduation is always a very powerful experience as the students see how proud their families are of them and the adopters see how much their new dog meant to a young person.
We offer several different levels of services and custom program design upon request. We provide the dogs and all of the necessary equipment for the sessions.
We are currently offering our programs and consultations to help start other programs to select schools and other youth and animal rescue organizations. To apply, please Contact Us for more information and availability.