New program helping troubled teens and unwanted dogs get new start

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city and state are trying something new to help troubled teens turn their lives around, while helping unwanted dogs in the process.

Juvenile inmates are training dogs and Friday, their first graduate went to its new home.

“Pretty anxious, see how it goes,” said Andre Tupou, juvenile correctional officer.

“I saw her, fell in love with her,” he said about a once abused dog named Lady Amor.

As Tupou finalized the adoption Friday at Animal Welfare, Lady Amor waited for him where she had been living and training for the past five months, CYFD’s Camino Teen Center.

“Once they got Lady, I was always cruising over to that side, playing with her, checking her out and everything ,” Tupou said.

Lady is the first graduate of the 505 Paws of Hope program. Back in October, the city’s Animal Welfare Department and CYFD chose a pair of girls at the juvenile detention center to train and take care of Lady Amor.

“Before, like most of the kids here, they liked to sleep, they’re typical teenagers, you tell them, get up clean your room,” said¬†Youth Care Specialist Brandy Duran.

She says the teens’ response was usually, “Oh my goodness, okay.”

But Duran says that attitude changed when Lady arrived.

“In the mornings, because they knew Lady had to go out, she had to be taken out, she had to be fed, they were up cleaning their rooms, getting their chores done, what they had to do, and then it was Lady’s turn,” Duran said.

“They also had to work out a schedule, who was going to feed her, when were they going to feed her, when was play time, when did she need to go to the potty, who was going to pick up the poop,” said Joyce Spinden, dog trainer.

Duran says the girls took on a big responsibility, teaching Lady manners and even a few tricks.

“They were really sad to see her go, but this morning when they said their goodbyes, they were glad that she’s going to a good home, they said ‘we know we can’t keep her forever but we’re glad that she’s finally getting a good home,” Duran said.

The Paws of Hope program has two other shelter dogs in the boy’s unit at the juvenile jail right now.

Those dogs will be up for adoption when their training is done. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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