SGNN GoodNews

Underdog 3

Children & dogs working together

I love underdogs, people who have achieved extraordinary things against the odds.

I recently learnt that training a shelter dog can help young people develop confidence and build better lives for themselves. This is possible through The Underdog Project, an animal assisted therapy organisation based in Hout Bay. They bring together rescue dogs and at-risk children through a mix of animal-assisted-therapy and positive reinforcement dog training with the aim of creating a humane society.

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This is a win-win as the dogs are stimulated, trained, de-stressed and learn to love the company of people and children – which means they’ll have a better chance of finding forever homes. Added to that, the children learn positive communication, self-esteem, conflict resolution and leadership, among other things – and have lots of fun in the process!

The ripple effect spreads through the community, as everyone who experiences Underdog becomes more conscious of treating all living things with respect and compassion.

The Underdog Project is a registered NPO & PBO based on the premises of DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group) who are a separate organisation and their close partners and friends.

They have been in operation since 2011 and were founded by Jenna da Silva Pinto. Over the years the project has grown from strength to strength and touched many lives. The kids come from local schools, children’s homes and other NGOs, but the positive impact is so evident that the organisation gets interest from all over the Western Cape. The dogs are all from DARG and 97% of the dogs in their programme find forever homes. The team follows up with all the dogs and kids who have been through the programme to ensure the positive impacts are long lived.

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The Underdog Project is supported by the generosity of donors and the Hout Bay community but there are always things they need. At the moment, they are looking for a sponsor for lunches as many of the kids come after school with empty stomachs. They are looking for a simple meal like a sandwich and a drink for about 10 kids, 4 days a week. if you would like to make a donation, or if you’d like any further information on The Underdog Project, please contact or visit our website at


Lindy Hibbard – Smile Breakfast Anchor, Weekdays 6am-9am