Mesa County Animal Services teams up with the Division of Youth Corrections four times every year for the Leash on Life program.
Leash on Life takes five at risk dogs and pairs them with five at risk youths. The program has been in existence since 1999. Since then, the program has trained over 200 dogs. The five dogs participating in Monday's starting class include: Apollo a black golden retriever, Sadie a hound, Cocoa a pit bull, Terra a black lab and Kaiya a yellow lab.
Monday marked the first day of the new school year for the five pups. The youths train with their new pets four days a week for 4 weeks.
Bob Simpleman started the program and says the first day is always a challenge. Simpleman says, "Several of the dogs aren't used to leashes but the first day is one of a little bit of confusion."
Simpleman says the program not only teaches the teens how to control an animal but also how to gain more control over their own lives.
At the end of the four week program Simpleman says the dogs will be trained and handed over to their new owners.
Stay with 11 News as we track the progress of the teens and the dogs. We'll check back in with them in about two weeks.