So far the program is only on its second dog, but the first pup to participate, named Lily, was adopted after her 9-week stay at Rikers. And according to Saunders, the experience has been great for the kids as well. "They feel like they are more responsible," she said. "They're more patient, more understanding."
Teens who are selected to be the primary and secondary caregivers go to twice-a-week obedience classes with their pooch courtesy of a volunteer from Animal Care and Control, while the rest of their housing unit helps out with "daily chores for the dog," including grooming, walking and poop-scooping.