Dog News

Shelter Dogs Saved by Dog Training Students


Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

Animal Behavior College (ABC) dog training students have volunteered over 67,650 hours to help save the lives of shelter dogs throughout the United States and Canada, celebrating the seventh year of the school’s “Students Saving Lives” program.

A vocational school specializing in animal-related career training, ABC’s international campaign was developed to improve shelter dog rehabilitation and adoption. All dog training students are asked to volunteer for a minimum of ten hours of training time to a local shelter, humane society, or rescue organization to help socialize and train the dogs which helps them get noticed, and gives them a greater chance of adoption. Since 2004 over 6,075 students have participated in this successful program.

“Students Saving Lives is the single most rewarding project that I have ever set in motion throughout my entire career in the animal industry,” said Debbie Kendrick, Vice President of ABC. “I have witnessed first-hand the countless happy ‘tail-wagging’ endings our students have made possible. I am proud to be associated with such a dedicated group of individuals who donate their own time and newly acquired dog training skills to help shelter dogs find forever homes.”

According to the ASPCA approximately 5 to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year and approximately 3 to 4 million are euthanized with 60 percent of them being dogs. Although it is challenging to track exactly why all of these dogs are being surrendered, it is clear that behavior problems are a primary culprit. This means that behavior problems are one of the leading causes of death in dogs in the United States. This is the core reason why “Students Saving Lives” was created.

Robert Paszkiewicz, ABC Certified Dog Trainer, did his student volunteer hours at the Buffalo Pugs and Small Breed Rescue in Buffalo, New York. He started working with Lilah, a Maltese mix who showed no signs of getting past her fear of humans. She had spent all of her life in a crate and had never worn a collar or been walked. Through Robert’s patience and creative dog training techniques, Lilah now walks easily on a leash, responds to her name and is completely approachable. Robert takes pride in knowing that he helped Lilah face her fears in a stable atmosphere and showed her that humans are here to give her calm, assertive leadership and love.

saving dogs

ABC graduate Catherine Intoci of Carlsbad, California chose to complete her hours at the San Diego County North Shelter in Carlsbad where she has volunteered for the past 2 1/2 years on Mondays and Fridays for two hours a day. “On Wednesdays I also volunteer for the shelter’s ‘Pit Crew’ which is a partnership that they have with Best Friends Animal Society,” said Catherine. “I pick up a pit bull and take the dog into the community to walk with it and talk with people about the benefits of adopting shelter animals. It really helps educate the public about how friendly and adoptable these animals really are. It’s so amazing to watch the dogs get placed in loving homes.”

Daria Benstead is the Volunteer Coordinator at the Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, New Jersey. “We’re delighted to have ABC students volunteer with us. They absolutely help so many of our dogs get adopted,” she said.

The “Students Saving Lives” campaign will continue to dramatically increase the adoptability of dogs and help stem the tide of homeless animals in North America. Students have an opportunity to establish a career that is not only fulfilling, but truly makes a difference in the lives of animals, one volunteer hour at a time.