Even after the shelter is closed for the day, the Humane Society of the Black Hills (HSBH) continues to work hard to educate others about their mission.  On Wednesday nights, the HSBH ventures to the Juvenile Services Center (JSC) with various animals to teach youth about proper animal care.

The Paws Forward program, created in June, forwards the HSBH’s mission of “Serving Animals. Serving Community”.  The curriculum for Paws Forward was developed by the humane society’s in-house dog trainer, Kay, and a supervising kennel technician, Crystal.  The program is designed to educate participating youth on a host of animals and their various needs, behaviors, history, and more.  Kay and Crystal bring different animals to JSC each week to help the teens there learn about and interact with these furry friends.

Paws Forward benefits the youth participating by helping them learn empathy, compassion and patience.  A major goal through implementing the program is to help youth at the JSC develop an animal-related skillset they can take with them in the future.  These young people are not the only participants benefitting, though.  The animals that get to come along receive some extra socialization, training, and learn coping skills for new environments.  When teens and animals learn and work together, they form a special bond that can impact the rest of their lives.  The Humane Society of the Black Hills’s mission of education in the community continues, so if there is an outreach program that interests you, give the shelter a call at (605) 394-4170.