Children's Education Program

We currently offer an education program open to groups such as The 4-H Association, Scouts of America, fieldtrip groups, and will also come into school classrooms. Children in our program learn many life skills including: responsibility, empathy, compassion, patience, respect, and kindness. We relate what the children need (food, water, general necessities, attention, love) to what an animal needs while also teaching children the safest ways to introduce themselves and interact with new animals through our hands on program. Proper animal care can be taught at any age, but we feel starting with younger generations will help us shape the future of animal welfare in our community.

This program is currently offered by scheduled appointment only.

If you have any questions regarding this program, or would like to book a group session, please contact:

Paula Smith : [email protected]

Ashley Perry Shelter Reading Program

Our reading program is allowing children to come in our shelter and read to our animals. By sitting down next to an animal and reading, all threats of being judged for reading skills are gone. Their reading improves because the child is practicing the skill of reading, building self-esteem, and associating reading with something pleasant. A reluctant reader plus a loving animal can be a powerful combination for reading practice. In addition, the child forms a trusting bond with that animal that teaches them responsibility, empathy, compassion, patience, and respect.

This program was inspired by Ashley Perry :)


inmate dog training PROGRAM

In August, after months of preparation, we launched a prison foster and training program with Brooks Correctional Facility.  This program is

designed to give purpose and aid in rehabilitating prisoners while they live and work with a shelter dog. It is going to give many of our long term dogs like Cruiser the opportunity to have 24 hour companionship and training to help him and his friends ‘put their best paws forward’ when they get adopted! We started with 8 dogs moving in with their inmates at the Brooks facility.  

Then, they will have a weekly training session with our certified dog trainer and given ‘homework’ with their dog for the week. After 12 weeks of training, the dogs become available for adoption but can continue working and living at the prison  until a suitable owner is found. Once a dog is adopted, the process repeats


Training Program

Too many animals are surrendered into shelters simply because their people don’t know what to expect when they get a companion animal. Consequently, they are unprepared to teach their pet where to eliminate, what to chew, claw and scratch, and when to vocalize, etc. Through this program we offer training classes to our volunteers that allow them to work hands on with our animals, learning and teaching these skills. Our goal is to educate our community in proper animal training techniques and reduce the number of animals unnecessarily surrendered into shelters. 

If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact:

Chelsie Blaine: [email protected]


Senior Enrichment Program

Through this program we take some of our animals to assisted living facilities in order to enrich the lives of our animals and the residents. For seniors, the benefits of a furry companion can be life-changing. Walking a dog is great cardiovascular exercise, but just the simple act of petting, brushing, and feeding provides both mild activity and a means to stay engaged with the world. Pets can make the elderly feel needed, and that feeling can translate into a greater sense of purpose and self-worth. During what can be a lonely time of life, the unconditional love of a cherished dog or cat can be a bridge to more socialization with others, lowered stress, mental stimulation and a renewed interest in life. Our animals enjoy this interaction almost as much as the residents.

This program is open to our volunteers and currently takes place on the first Tuesday of every month. We are in the process of growing this program by adding more facilities and visitations.

If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact:

[email protected]

All training programs are hosted by Paula Smith. Paula is a Certified Professional Dog trainer and member of Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). She earned a BS from Grand Valley State University and a MSA from Central Michigan University. She is the owner of Dog Blessed LLC. Dog Blessed training is fun, positive, and effective. Proven training methods are used that help dogs increase their self-confidence so they feel safe and are eager to learn. Encouraging our dogs to think and solve problems. Methods build positive feelings toward training and interactions. 

Dog Blessed Specializes In:

  • Private In-Home Training

  • Classes in the Community

  • Interspecies Communication

  • Basic Manners

  • Puppy Socialization

  • Dog Reactivity

  • Introduction to Dog Sports 

  • AKC CGC Evaluator

  • …Most Importantly, Your  Dog’s Specific Needs!!!


If you have any questions regarding the programs offered, or would like to book a training session, please contact:

Paula Smith : [email protected]