Canine Advocates for Rehabilitation and Education

"An Animal Assisted Therapy Program"  A 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization







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About Us

Our Philosophy     Our Goals     Long Range Goals     Our Board


Our Philosophy

The gift of time ~

Teens who are labeled “at-risk” and many dogs who find themselves looking for a forever home share qualities in common. Often, they have been neglected because the people in their lives have not spent time with them teaching them the basics of acceptable behavior and healthy boundaries.

By giving the gift of time well spent to both homeless dogs and at-risk teens, C.A.R.E. unites them as teams to work toward positive life changes.

Leadership ~

The bridge between the dogs and the teens is leadership. Being an effective trainer starts with being a benevolent and compassionate leader. Many at-risk teens equate leadership with authority and punishment, and unfortunately, so do many dogs. As the basis of teaching leadership skills, C.A.R.E. compares the difference between the leadership styles of Mohandas Gandhi and Adolph Hitler, both of whom achieved tremendous change as a result of their leadership, but with vastly different results historically.



Mahatma Gandhi said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

I would add that this holds true for its children as well.


Our Goals

During training ~

C.A.R.E. teens work toward the immediate goal of teaching “their” dogs basic obedience, using guidelines from the AKC’s Canine Good Citizenship Award, a 10-part test designed to recognize dogs who exhibit good manners at home and in their communities.


After the first week of the 8-week program, each C.A.R.E. session is held in two parts: the actual hands-on dog training followed by a group therapy session during which training challenges are discussed and used as a “springboard” for real-life challenges a teen might encounter. For example, if a teen had difficulty teaching her dog to sit, how did she feel? What did she do with that feeling as she pursued her goal of teaching sit? And, how can what she learned about patience, anger management, leadership, etc. as a dog trainer be applied to any frustration she may feel at school? With a sibling? A parent?


As the teens train the dogs, they will work toward being calm leaders who use patience and compassion in bonding with and communicating with the dogs. Over the course of the 8-week C.A.R.E. session, the teens can see how their own efforts directly contribute to the dogs’ positive changes in behavior.


Long Range Goals

Long Range, Ongoing and Broader Goals ~

Peer Mentoring: Some of the teens will naturally emerge as excellent dog trainers with outstanding leadership skills and these participants will be invited to return to the program as mentors for new participants.


Scholarships: Along the same lines, those teens who emerge as natural dog trainers with outstanding positive leadership skills and who also demonstrate a strong desire to become professional trainers will be offered the opportunity to apply for scholarships to accredited dog training schools.


Research and Data Collection: In the process of developing the C.A.R.E. program, it became apparent that although many other similar programs were seeing positive results with at-risk teens and homeless dogs, few of them were actually gathering data to support the effectiveness of their work.


Formation of a National AAT Organization: Once C.A.R.E. has established a successful track record, we will invite other similar organizations across the country (including those who utilize AAA or Animal Assisted Activities) to form a national organization whose main goals would be to participate in brainstorming and developing guidelines for AAT and AAA nationwide, and to agree to design and implement data collection and research as an integral part of AAT and AAA so that they will become a widely accepted method of treatment.


Expansion of C.A.R.E. to a National Level: With sufficient data collected and a solid track record of being an effective method of treatment for at-risk teens, C.A.R.E. will begin to expand to other parts of the country. With the help of other partners that have an established national presence, C.A.R.E. will open new programs across the United States: There will always be at-risk teens and homeless dogs who need help!


Our Board

Deborah Dobson, Program Founder

BSW; Certified Recovery Coach – CCAR: Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery; volunteer and contract employee for MATForce (www.matforce.org), an award winning (Milestone Award, Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America, 2/10) local organization that serves to educate about addiction; former youth counselor for at-risk teens; owner of “Good Dog! Animal Behavior”, owner of a highly successful pet sitting business for over 20 years; former Alateen sponsor; past Board member, Cottonwood Riverfront Dog Park; recipient of the City of Cottonwood Community Service Award, 8/08; current volunteer with Juvenile Probation in Cottonwood, AZ.

C.A.R.E. is actively seeking interested community members in western North Carolina to serve on its Advisory Board.

Please contact Debby Dobson at: Debby@caredogs.org. Thank you!