Unleashing Human Potential… One Dog at a Time

UnChained is honored to be a part of changing lives – those of our Youth Trainers, program dogs, and members of the UnChained family from volunteers to supporters to partner organizations.

Our youth and dogs overcome many challenges in their lives. We are happy to share some of their stories here. We hope you are as inspired by them as we are…


UnChained Youth: Making a Difference at San Jose Juvenile Hall

Our youth in Juvenile Hall often feel forgotten and without hope… but helping to train shelter dogs and prepare them for a new home gives our youth hope for their own futures. Hear from Youth Trainers and Probation staff about the impact of UnChained’s Canines Teaching Compassion Program inside San Jose Juvenile Hall and watch the youth show what their dogs have learned. 

Many thanks to our Video Producers from Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations in partnership with Santa Clara County Probation Juvenile Hall and UnChained.

Morgen & Her Gift of Song

UnChained staff couldn’t believe they were listening to such a young lady sing so wonderfully at only 13 years of age when we participated in the Live Like Coco Fun Run in spring of 2018 in Watsonville presented by the Live Like Coco Foundation.

Moved by her musical gifts, we humbly requested Morgen to write a song for UnChained, to which she and her mother agreed with great esteem. Inspired by our Youth Trainers and what they give to their dogs, Morgen penned a beautiful song entitled “Living UnChained” that perfectly captures our mission and the special bond between our students and their program dogs.

Watch her video here and be sure to visit her YouTube and follow her there: https://goo.gl/kZBAWJ

You can also see Morgen perform Living UnChained at the 2019 California Roots Music Festival (Cali Roots X): https://youtu.be/Jh61bRS-IzU

Kiki’s Story: Giving Back

Kiki began her UnChained journey as a Youth Trainer where she helped a local shelter dog-in-need gain a second chance at a better life through training, socializing and adoption. When asked about her relationship with her program dog, Lady, she said: “Lady was like a good book that I didn’t want to put down. We understood each other without even talking.”

Kiki explained, “I never wanted to go home after class. Being there made me feel calm and excited at the same time. Lady was somebody who wasn’t a person, but who needed my help. I really liked that.”

Once Kiki helped find Lady a loving home, she volunteered with UnChained, working fundraising events in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties and giving back to her community. Kiki is a very special teen: she’s given up many weekend mornings by waking before sunrise and working until sunset all with a positive, cheerful and helpful attitude. While Kiki helped to change the life of a young dog, a young dog helped to change the life of a young woman.

Watch Kiki’s heartwarming story here.

Leilani Falls in Love a Second Time

In 2016, Leilani trained a little dog named Rodney in UnChained’s Canines Teaching Compassion Program. Compassion was in full supply with Leilani. She and Rodney adored each other and Leilani helped Rodney find a loving home.

Because of her love of giving, Leilani returned in 2017 for her 2nd Canines Teaching Compassion program where she worked with Mango, a little guy with a big heart. Before coming into the program, Mango lost one of his hind legs and was a bit (understandably) timid. Leilani offered Mango patience and affection that helped him learn trust and confidence. Ultimately, Leilani’s training and love helped Mango overcome his anxiety and reveal his true colors.

Leilani talked about her experience with both dogs in a video from fall of 2017. We hope you enjoy this young woman’s passion and compassion as much as we do!