The Youth Villages Inner Harbour Campus in Douglasville, GA is one of Georgia’s largest psychiatric residential treatment programs for emotionally challenged children. Serving young people throughout the Southeast since 1962, the Inner Harbour Campus is nonprofit and merged with Youth Villages in the fall of 2009.
The woodland setting of the Inner Harbour Campus sits on 1,200 acres just west of Atlanta and offers a therapeutic environment for a wide variety of special needs children. The campus includes a lake, a sports field, running track and playgrounds for recreational activities. The also have many great hiking trails, canoeing activities, a ropes course and equine therapy program with several horses, and five therapy dogs know as the “Inner Harbour Five” or the “Inner Harbour Hounds.”
Since 2010, SNAP has been proud to provide food for these very special therapy dogs. Youth Villages uses therapy animals at the Inner Harbour campus to teach children and youth about responsibility, empathy, trust, and relational self-confidence. Inner Harbour staff also report that the dogs have a calming effect on children in the program and can help make them more open to discussion.
As so often happens with rescue dogs, the therapy animal program has benefited the dogs just as much as the children. You can read more about Inner Harbour here. If you want more information or wish to help SNAP continue to help these dogs, and other animals in the Greater Atlanta area, please visit our SNAP website for more information or find us on Facebook.
SNAP has been providing food for the five “Harbour Hounds” Chance, Princess, Sparky, Max, and Brown Bear for five years now. Inner Harbour and the therapy dog program has a special place the heart of Kyla Jones, the founder of SNAP. Her son went to Inner Harbour many years ago and benefited a great deal from the program. “It was a wonderful experience where he learned a lot and really came out of his shell thanks to all the good work of the Inner Harbour staff and especially the horses and fishing,” Ms. Jones explained. Years later the Inner Harbour Five showed up at Inner Harbour – the staff contacted SNAP and they have been helping support these very special dogs ever since.
Princess (likely a border collie mix) was found wandering around the Inner Harbour campus when a group of kids found her during a hike. Abandoned by her owner, it took Princess awhile to adjust to her new home (not really interacting with the other dogs, scared to be near them), but she has adjusted well and now loves to start barking contests with all the dogs.
Max (a beagle mix) was abandoned on the side of the road and lived alone for an unknown period of time before someone rescued him and brought him to Inner Harbour where he has been ever since. He seems to have a smile on his face whenever the kids go to the kennels to feed and visit him. He puts a smile on the kid’s faces every time they see him because he gets so excited when they are there. We think it’s because he thinks he’s going to be fed each time some kids go visit him.
Brown Bear (a lab, German Shepard mix) has been at Youth Villages since she was a puppy. Abandoned with her sister, the pair have found a loving home at Inner Harbour for the past 10 years. Brown Bear (named by the staff when she was a puppy) is a sweet, gentle and very caring dog who loves to have her belly rubbed. The kids love to spend time with her and she has a well-deserved reputation for helping the kids ease their anxieties just by spending time with her.
Chance (likely a border collie mix) was a stray found by Inner Harbour students. Found with a tangled and matted coat, Inner Harbour staff cleaned him up, and he has had a home at Inner Harbour and has been a happy dog ever since. Chance loves to jump up on people’s lap when they visit him and likes to play with toys of all shapes and sizes.
Sparky (a Jack Russell mix) came from an abusive household and had been shot in the chest multiple times with a BB gun. He was rescued from that situation and has since flourished at Inner Harbour. Even though Sparky is the smallest of the five, he seems to be the alpha dog and is in charge of the others members of the Inner Harbour Five.
SNAP is proud to sponsor a the program to feed the Inner Harbour Five, and we look forward to may more years of supporting these therapy dogs with a wonderful history and mission. You can find out more about SNAP at our website. If you are interested in volunteering with SNAP, volunteering or helping in any way, or email us if you have any feedback, stories or questions.
Originally Posted January 25, 2014