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…


Morgen & Her Gift of Song

UnChained staff couldn’t believe they were listening to a 13-year old in the spring of 2018 at the Live Like Coco Foundation Fun Run in Watsonville when they first heard Morgen J. Smith singing her original songs. Moved by her gift of voice and music, staff asked Morgen to write a song for UnChained. Inspired by UnChained Youth Trainers and what they give to their program dogs, Morgen penned a beautiful song entitled Living UnChained with lyrics that capture the mission of the organization and the special bond between youth and dogs. To hear Morgen’s song, simply click the video at the left. To hear more of Morgen’s original works, visit Morgen on YouTube.  

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!