After School Program at Risk of Shutting Down

January 16, 2009 11:21:07 PM PST
A Merced County woman is changing the lives of troubled teens and helping the disabled at the same time.These playful puppies and affectionate dogs are more than just man's best friend ... Judy Warren says they're the key to connecting with troubled teens.

Warren has been training dogs for more than four decades, but this is just the second time she's invited at risk high school students to help her prepare the pups to be service dogs for the disabled.

Many of the students in the First Canine Academy class came from abusive homes. One even witnessed her own sister's violent death. But Warren says they all learned unconditional love and important life skills from working with the dogs ... and now she's hoping her second class will learn the same

Erica Orrantia says her social worker signed her up for the program while she was in foster care, and it's already making an impact.

But despite the success stories, the program's future is now in jeopardy.

Now Warren is hoping to find at least 20 acres on the outskirts of Merced so she can keep the academy alive...and continue making an impact on the community.

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