UnChained is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara counties. Through its Canines Teaching Compassion program, UnChained teaches youth how to train homeless dogs in basic skills, manners and socialization, helping the dogs be adopted into permanent homes. The youth develop values of patience, respect and responsibility for themselves and others, through the trust and relationship building with their dogs.

UnChained was founded in August 2011 and began serving students at Rancho Cielo Youth Campus in Salinas in Spring of 2012. Since then, UnChained has expanded to include programs at Kinship Center in Salinas, Youth N.O.W in Watsonville, Juvenile Hall in Santa Cruz and Juvenile Hall in San Jose.

Training homeless dogs who share similar experiences of neglect, abandonment or abuse enables youth to feel empathy and compassion for others, while improving their own sense of self-worth. Youth Trainers report pride in their accomplishments and increased patience.

Partners report that UnChained offers a deep connection with the dogs in a unique way that reaches the youths’ hearts. Matt Huerta of Rancho Cielo reported that “once their hearts are softened because of the dogs, their minds are ready to be broadened.”

This connection creates a ripple effect for our communities: when youth are part of resolving a community problem, such as finding homeless animals homes, they experience a sense of purpose and belonging. The new-found confidence enables them to become a more contributing member of their family, school and community.

Be a part of the solution: volunteer or donate to UnChained today!

Make a Donation