If you are thinking this is an article for dogs behaving badly, you have come to the wrong blog… this is in fact about saving lives, multiple lives, one dog at a time.
You may have heard of a therapy dog, but have you head of the amazing rehabilitation strides dogs can help make for individuals in correctional facilities? Prison Dog Programs are bringing brighter futures to lives that were once dark, ultimately saving three lives at a time.
While it is impossible to know the exact number of stray dogs in America, it is estimated to be in the millions, many are at the risk of dying of starvation on their own, or are euthanized if they are picked up and taken to a shelter and not adopted. Many times these dogs are passed over due to their lack of training, creating a grim future. Prison Dog Programs save the lives of these dogs by taking them in to be cared for and trained by select inmates. These dogs are taught basic commands, given the skills and tools needed to become more appealing for adoption; giving them a second chance at life.
Many times convicted criminals are forgotten once they are sentenced to jail time. If they are lucky enough to get parole or released from jail, they have a hard life of finding decent work and an employer willing to take a chance on them. Inmates chosen to participate in Prison Dog Programs typically have a history with animals and or training. By working with the lovable dogs the inmates develop a connection with another living being and build a deeper relationship where they experience compassion, responsibility, self control, emotion management and a new found respect for life. Through teaching and caring for these stray dogs the inmates are rehabilitated and gain a skill they can use once they are released.
Once the inmate successfully trains the dog, the stray has many options including adoption. In some cases the dogs stay within the system and can provide a wonderful therapy service to older prisoners or in some cases act as security dogs in the prison. Either option, the stray dog graduates the Prison Dog Program and escapes a life on the street or perhaps even death. The stray dog is now serving a purpose while feeling loved and cared for. By moving out of the program a spot becomes available for yet another stray dog, saving yet a third life.
This relatively new idea of incorporating dogs into the rehabilitation scene of correctional facilities has received rave reviews by many for all of the wonderful aspects it provides inside and out. With so many stray animals on the street, it is nice to see a community service benefiting these animals thrive while helping convicted criminals adjust and become more able to fit in with society once they are released. The amount of love and health benefits that can be shared by the companionship of a dog truly is a blessing and when you add this to the number of lives that are saved through the process, it is good all the way around!
Article by Dr. Susan Wright DVM. Dr. Wright is the author of numerous dog care articles and lead dog bark collar and invisible fence alternatives expert at Dog Fence DIY. Susan has over ten years of experience in veterinary practice and is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America.