Can you feel the love?

Love when they need it most

When Frenchie came to The Children’s Village she would jump on people when she met them. By the time she was adopted two weeks later, she greeted people by calmly sitting in front of them.

Dogs — and the unconditional love they offer — have been a part of the Dobbs Ferry campus for more than a decade. We’re absolutely thrilled to announce the start of a brand new program called Canine Rescue & Rehab (K9 R&R).

We are working with the Paws Crossed Animal Rescue in Elmsford to help train their dogs in our after-school program to make them ready for their new homes. The boys on our campus will work with a trainer to teach basic obedience commands and social skills to the dogs.

When the dogs arrive in Elmsford, sometimes from as far away as the Cayman Islands, they come with very little socialization skills. When they come to The Children’s Village, they are taught obedience, people skills, and, most importantly, are made to feel both safe and loved.

Read a profile of the K9 R&R program from the Rivertowns Enterprise.

Seeing themselves in the dog’s reflection

The dog training program teaches our teenagers to empathize with and nurture the animals. It teaches them consistency and patience, often in the face of frustration, and it builds confidence. It also helps the at-risk teens learn to regulate their own emotions as they are mirrored back by the animal.

We have found that teens in foster care quickly identify similarities between the dog’s circumstances and their own, especially in terms of past traumatization and having their home life disrupted; this helps the teens to better understand and more openly discuss their experiences.

Willa was very timid and afraid of people when she arrived. The boys were able to help build her confidence and trust through agility techniques, and she was adopted.

“The K9 R&R program gives our teenagers a unique opportunity to reflect on their own emotions and ask questions about their fears around family permanency through the dogs. It’s amazing to watch the teens soften as they become aware of how their energy, posture, and tone of voice is impacting the dogs and to see them advocate for ‘unwanted’ dogs to find permanent families,” said Lia Schwartz, CV’s Chief of Staff. “My eyes filled with tears as I watched Jeffrey discover that Willa was too scared to take treats from his hand, but what she really needed and wanted was, in Jeffrey’s words, ‘my love.'”

The program is coordinated by Adam Mallin, who holds a master’s degree in education and has many years working in the field of animal-assisted therapy. He is certified by ECAD in their Train the Trainer program, which teaches people how to train a service dog and integrate the dog’s skills with the needs of a disabled client.

We are thrilled to be able to run a program that transforms the lives of both the dogs and the children we serve, allowing each to go to homes happier and with healthier social skills.

Thank you! Questions? Email RoseAnn Magdaleno at