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UnChained / Paws Helping People

Organization Mission

UnChained fosters empathy, respect, and responsibility in youth through the human-animal bond.

The Big Idea:
Canines Teaching Compassion

UnChained pairs dogs in need of training and adoption with youth in need of self-esteem and empathy, unleashing human potential one dog at a time. By expanding its Canines Teaching Compassion program in Santa Cruz County, UnChained will teach more underserved youth to train homeless dogs in basic skills and good manners, helping place the dogs into adoptive homes.

The youth develop values of patience, respect and responsibility for themselves and others, through the trust and relationship-building with their dogs. Working with dogs who may share similar experiences of neglect, abandonment, and abuse enables youth to experience compassion and respect for others, while building confidence and self- worth. As the dogs succeed, youth thrive knowing they have helped find a home for a dog who loves and accepts them unconditionally.


Thanks to my dog Molly, I learned that I can be patient and understand others’ feelings and moods. Molly gave me her trust and that is something I would like to get from others.

Andrew, UnChained Youth Trainer, Santa Cruz