Dogs Doing Good: From Rescue to Changing Lives

Prison inmates, troubled teens, and homeless dogs are teaming up in several parts of the country. The end result is a better life for everyone involved. Could you develop a program like this for your shelter or rescue? Take a look at the following inspiring programs for ideas you might use in your community.

Italicized wording is taken directly from the website.

A program called Pups on Parole has made a huge difference in the lives of 600 abused and traumatized homeless dogs and women in correctional facilities in southern Nevada.

According to the Heaven Can Wait for Sanctuary’s website (based in Las Vegas, NV), the women residents in the correctional facilities provide rehabilitation and training to dogs that are rescued by HCWS volunteers. Volunteers oversee the training process of the dogs and their adoptions. Over 600 dogs that have graduated from the program have already found their “forever” homes. Not only are the inmates rehabilitating the dogs, but the dogs are rehabilitating the women who work with them.

The Prison Pet Partnership Program is a non-profit organization located on the grounds of the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor. We rescue and train homeless animals to provide service dogs for persons with disabilities and operate a boarding and grooming facility to provide vocational education for women inmates. Our program benefits all involved — the animals who are given the chance to lead lives of service, the inmates who learn valuable skills so they may find gainful employment upon release, and the individuals with disabilities who receive well-trained dogs to help increase their level of independence.

The Assistance Dogs of the West based here in Santa Fe trains service dogs with an extraordinary program bringing together so many in need. In addition to “mainstream students,” at-risk teenagers and juvenile detainees are taught to train and place assistance dogs with people with disabilities.

Youth and adult student trainers with developmental and physical disabilities advance occupational therapy goals as they are taught to train and place assistance dogs with people with disabilities . . . providing them a means to live more independent and fulfilled lives.

Some of the dogs used in this program are from rescues or shelters. The dogs can be trained for many types of disabilities and services including therapy, seizure, courthouse, psychiatric service, and more. ADW has expanded to provide US military veterans service dogs free of charge to improve their lives.

The article Jail Inmates Help Run County’s Animal Shelter dated September 2009 describes how the animal shelter in Osceola County, Florida had to lay off 12 workers due to budget cuts. Jail inmates were brought in to help run the shelter. Six to eight inmates work at one time. They can shave five days off their sentence for every thirty days they work.

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