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Uwharrie Charter Academy students giving dogs a better chance for adoption

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Animal shelters across the Piedmont hear the same reasons over and over when a pet comes back. Either the adopted pet requires too much time or the dog is too wild. So students at Asheboro's Uwharrie Charter Academy Middle are stepping in to teach shelter dogs new tricks.

"You would like to have a mannerly dog and it takes a lot of tiny steps to get to that," animal advocate and Uwharrie Charter Academy teacher Lisa Routh said.

About 20 students at Uwharrie Charter Academy Middle are going through the tiny steps of teaching manners to three Randolph County shelter dogs.

"It's a lot easier for them to learn rolls and stuff like that," eighth-grade student Kendall Mccaskill said. "Manners is the easiest thing to teach them."

Sit, come and roll over are some of the basic commands the students are teaching. Students like sixth-grader Lucy Griffin are taking what they learn at school and teaching manners to their own dog at home.

"She catches on really quick," Griffin said. "High fives, she has done really great on that."

The first scientific animal training class is showing promise. Of the three Randolph County shelter dogs that began the school year with Uwharrie Charter, two have been adopted and one is close to adoption. When school begins after winter break, another Randolph County shelter dog will join the obedience class. Teacher Lisa Routh feels the class is a success because the students take the class seriously.

"I find a lot of joy in the students because they have so much fun training the dogs and they are very focused," Routh said.

Plus the students understand the scientific principles behind animal training and they take ownership of the class by setting the obedience training schedule.

"It kind of feels good," Kendall said. "It feels like you have a lot of responsibilities."