Sixteen-year-olds Sidney Cannon, left, and Elizabeth Blair share a playful moment with Twist, the first dog to "graduate" from the Charlotte-based Hounds2Heroes2Horses program that began this year.
Sidney and Elizabeth have volunteered through the summer in the program, in which military veterans train longtime dogs from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Departments Animal Care & Control and save some pets lives by training them to be calmer and more adoptable.
The program has expanded to include horses. The two teens have helped leash-train and socialize the animals, along with doing other work. "Were required to do volunteer hours, but I think I would probably do them anyway -- at least at the ranch -- because I have loved horses and dogs for a really long time," said Elizabeth, a rising junior at Union Academy, a public charter school in Monroe.
Sidney, a rising sophomore at Indian Land High, said: "Its really nice how that dog (Twist) came out. He was all jumpy and stuff, but its really great to see them calm down and find their own home."
Hounds2Heroes2Horses founder Robin Clay said of the two teens: "There is something about these young people that is so unassuming. It just works. ... When you think about our young people, this really makes you feel good about whats out there.