The Hidden Benefit Of Training Rescue Dogs For Military Veterans Changes Everything


Military Veterans Are Helped Because Prisoners Are Training Rescue Dogs

Rescue dogs are now rescuing the incarcerated while the incarcerated are training them. This is a role reversal of sorts. Prisoners are training rescue dogs for Military Veterans and to be used as service dogs in general. Check out these videos. Incredible stories of transformed lives are just the beginning. 

photo credit adobe stock

Here are a few locations where shelter dogs and inmates are making a difference. Check to see if rescue dogs are being trained in prisons near you and how you can help. 

Atlanta cellmates training rescue dogs.

Susan Jacobs-Meadows, Executive Director Canine CellMates, shares with CNN, “We do extensive temperament assessments before placing the dogs with inmates.” 

Rescued dogs are helping to save lives in return. Here’s some info from Canine CellMates

“Canine CellMates doesn’t just invest time and effort into dogs. The men at the Fulton County Jail who become the handlers of our recruits become part of the Canine CellMates team and family. We do our best to support them in their efforts to grow and evolve while in the jail and continue our support when they get out.”  

 Making Second Chances Better  

PetPalsTV, shares about Pendleton Inmates and their impact with shelter dogs. Inmates are selected and approved in order to be dog handlers and trainers. This F.I.D.O. effort (Faith + Inmates + Dogs = Opportunities) takes these seemingly undesirable, discarded pups and gives them training and love, thus making them highly adoptable pups!

At this taping, 140 dogs have benefitted from the program. Director of Animal Protection League/FIDO INAPL, Maleah Stringer says, “This program gives inmates opportunity to open up their hearts again, to find their humanity again and their compassion.”

INAPL’s mission is to make second chances possible through the human/animal connection. “We aim to provide a compassionate, humane community for our animals and to celebrate the human/animal connection from a place of spirituality which sustains us emotionally, touches the lives of even the most hardened and provides us with unconditional love.”

F.I.D.O. Director, Stringer shares, …working with animals helps humanize longterm incarcerated inmates. Teaching the inmates responsibility. How to interact within a group using non-violent methods to solve problems. Giving them the unconditional love of a pet, something many of these inmates have never known.

Puppies Helping Prisoners

Good Day Sacramento’s Nha Nguyen shares a behind the scenes story about 12-week-old puppies and Ione, CA prisoners. Mule Creek State Prison inmates are training rescue dogs to become service animals. Most of all, these tender loving pups are using their cuteness, unconditional love, and accepting personalities to rescue men behind bars. 

The guards, at Mule Creek, witness the inmates carrying the dogs across the yard during the heat of the day in order to protect their paws. Certain inmates previously yelled at dogs, forcing them to obey. With this new change of heart, they show unconditional love by training shelter dogs to help others.. Once more, these rescue dogs are changing lives.

Paws For Life is another 12-week program helping timid dogs from kill shelters become more confident around people. It’s one of many rehabilitation courses in the California state prisons helping inmates prepare to re-enter society. “The chihuahua mixes and pit bull mutts at Mule Creek were matched up with particular inmates, but also walked the yard and interacted with other prisoners,” said Lt. Angelo Gonzalez of the prison.

Tender Loving Canines

photo credit tenderlovingcanines

Many rehabilitation courses are popping up in California state prisons, to include Tender Loving Canines. Prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to back these programs that help inmates prepare to re-enter society. Says. Hector Amezcua of The Sacramento Bee

Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs has partnered with the County of San Diego Girls Rehabilitation Facility (GRF) and the Department of Animal Services to launch the Tender Loving Canines (TLC) program. Assessing and training homeless shelter dogs give incarcerated girls the opportunity for rehabilitation. As a result, the training helps rescue dogs become service dogs for wounded warriors. The dogs also assist individuals with autism in San Diego County. 

Southeastern Correctional Institute

According to Jeff Baron, a reporter with the Eagle-Gazette, the Fairfield County Dog Shelter is supplying dogs to the Southeastern Correctional Complex for its program in which inmates are training rescue dogs.

“Dogs are pulled from us that they feel need training or would be a match for their program,” shelter operations and community outreach coordinator Kathleen Uhl said. “They place them with an inmate handler who is then training the dog. The dogs stay with them, sleep with them 24/7, until it’s deemed they’re ready to be put up for adoption to the public.”

“Sgt. Brenda Black runs the program at the prison. She states participating inmates must have a high school diploma or GED certificate, no sex offenses or domestic violence incidents, and no disciplinary issues while in prison. The dogs stay with their handlers for two weeks,” reports Baron.

It amazes me that we are not taking more advantage of these built-in “foster” facilities. What a great idea! 

From Rejected, Unloved, and Unwanted To Useful And Productive!

The Arrowhead Correctional Insitute program brings in abused and neglected rescue dogs. As a result, the rejected, unloved, and unwanted from both sides of the fence find healing. 

“True Love is the story of Greg and his wife Rachelle and the power of the dog program to help bring and build their life together. Castaways is about the characters whose lives and stories are weaved together and bonded by the interaction of man and dog – each trying to save and serve one another.” 

Don’t Throw Us Away!

Dogs from the streets caused these tough inmates to react in a powerful way! You’ll be speechless too. Listen in, as Michelle Riccio the Founder of Don’t Throw Us Away explains the possibilities of prisons being foster homes to rescue dogs. 

“The rescue dogs get to pick their inmates, and it’s really exciting to see who the dogs go to,” says Riccio.  

Don’t Throw Us Away is a mutually beneficial program. In this partnership, homeless dogs gain the love, training, and rehabilitation that will make them adoptable. And inmates become empathetic and gain a sense of responsibility and purpose, allowing them to re-enter society as productive citizens. Dogs with a good training foundation have a better chance at successful, permanent adoptions. Gaining hands-on training in the animal care profession increases the inmates’ chances of gainful employment after release and reduces the risk of recidivism.

DTUA has a movie that touches hearts.

Nothing Is Impossible

Dogs on the Inside, the movie, follows the relationships between abused stray dogs and prison inmates working towards a second chance at a better life. In an attempt to rebuild their confidence and prepare for a new life outside, these prisoners must first learn to handle and care for a group of neglected strays. This heart-warming story reconfirms the timeless connection between man and dog and shows the resiliency of a dogs’ trust and the generosity of the human spirit in the unlikeliest of places. (From the official site)

Get your tissues ready, Dogs On The Inside will bring you to tears.

DAWGS In Prison

“The dogs featured on this website were trained for eight weeks at Gulf Forestry Camp under the direction of Gulf Correctional Institution in Wewahitchka, Florida by state inmates. These inmates are trained by a professional dog trainer, in the hopes that they may find gainful employment in animal services when released from prison. Currently one of every three inmates released from the Florida prison system returns to prison within three years. Through programs like DAWGS, the Department of Corrections is focusing on teaching inmates viable job skills that will lead them to productive jobs and law-abiding lives upon release.”

The DAWGS In Prison mission is to provide training and education for both inmate and dog, resulting in permanent homes for the dogs, viable job skills for the inmate, and productive jobs and a law-abiding life upon release.

All dogs can sit, stay, recall, down, heel, and respond to no and leave it. In addition, the dogs behave well on a leash. DAWGS dogs are up to date on all vaccines as well as spayed/neutered, microchipped and heartworm negative.

Puppies Behind Bars

Puppies Behind Bars Founder and President, Gloria Gilbert Stoga opens her heart to a need many of us never consider. She wants to let those wounded in battle, to know that America supports them. Stoga is using dogs to do just that!

Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) trains prison inmates in training shelter dogs for service with wounded war veterans and explosive detection canines for law enforcement. While the puppies enter prison at the age of eight weeks they live with their inmate puppy-raisers for approximately 24 months. As a result, the puppies mature into well-loved, well-behaved dogs. Furthermore, their raisers learn what it means to contribute to society rather than take from it. PBB programs bring the love and healing of dogs to hundreds of individuals every year. The dogs bring hope and pride to their raisers, and independence and security to those they serve. Check out PuppiesBehindBars

Take a look at these rescue dog transformations

Have you visited or worked at one of these facilities? Share your stories and your thoughts below.