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Islip Town obedience program aims for more adoptable dogs

Two year old Pit Bull "King Kong" in

Two year old Pit Bull "King Kong" in front of the Town of Islip animal shelter. (July 5, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

If 5-year-old Lucy is lucky, getting an education might land her a home.

The Islip Animal Shelter and Adopt-A-Pet Center has launched a training program for its furry tenants in the hopes that learning some basic obedience skills will make them more appealing to families looking to adopt.

The Canine Good Citizen Program is run on a volunteer basis and started in May under trainer Jennifer Towers of Lead the Pack Dog Training. Homes have already been found for 10 of the obedience program’s 15 participants, Islip Town officials said.

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Shelter officials hope Lucy will soon be included in that group. The brindled pit bull-terrier mix, who often poses for pictures with one ear straight in the air, has been in the Islip shelter since March 2011.

“This program is so important for a shelter dog because it significantly improves his or her chance for adoption. Having even the slightest bit of training gives that dog a big advantage over others that don’t,” read a statement from Islip Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, liaison to the animal shelter.

Towers said these animals are often overlooked because of their breed, age or the fact that they’re in a shelter.

“This program helps prospective families see that any dog, even in such a stressful environment, can learn to be a great, well-mannered dog with a little extra love, attention and hands-on training,” Towers said.

A video from the obedience class, featuring Lucy and her fellow four-legged participants, can be viewed on the Town of Islip’s YouTube page.

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