A new plan where prisoners train dogs who were abandoned at shelters is changing lives — both for the people and the pooches involved.
Inmates at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta are matched up with a dog awaiting adoption, and the pair then spends every day and night together for two months. The prisoners train the dogs, and the dogs in return give love, affection and a sense of responsibility to their human companions.
It’s all part of the Canine CellMates programme.
The results are life-changing for some, with prisoner Joseph Baker saying: “This programme has changed me — it has taught me to have responsibility and how to have patience.”
The inmates also teach the dogs tricks such as sit, stay, and roll over, which help the canines increase their chance of getting adopted.
Susan Jacobs-Meadows, executive director of Canine CellMates, said: “Most of these guys gave up believing that there was very much of value to them a long time ago. But when that dog loves them and trusts them that starts to change how they feel about themselves.”
The inmates also see deep similarities between the animals and their own situations, with one man saying: “The bond that me and Fred have… He came to a place where he was going to be put to death and I came from a place that was on the bad side.”
“If Fred can have an opportunity to go to a good home and he can change, that makes me want to change the environment that I’m in. That means I can do better also.”
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