Pen pals: Inmates team with unwanted dogs
Inmates at the Arizona State Prison in Kingman are being teamed up with dogs in hopes of changing lives — both human and canine.
The prison collaborated with Mohave Companion Animal Rescue Efforts Network almost a year ago to partner inmates with unwanted dogs that have been rescued by local organizations, some of them just before they are scheduled to be euthanized.
Its the second go-round for a program of this type at the prison; an earlier one was shut down, according to Kingman Daily Miner.
Ten inmates are chosen for the six-week program, in which the inmates train the dogs in basic commands, thereby making them more adoptable.
“Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s more excited, the inmates or the dogs,” said Warden Darla Elliot.
Each dog is paired with two inmates, who feed, walk, clean up after and train them for about six weeks. The only time the dogs and the inmates are separated is when the inmates go to eat or if an inmate has to go to the infirmary.
“Each new dog is a new challenge,” said Randy Barrow, who has worked with four or five dogs since entering the program. “It teaches a great deal of respect. It changes your behavior. You can’t be harsh with a dog. You can’t yell at them or they’ll start to absorb those traits. And those aren’t traits that people want in dogs.
“If you want to train a dog with problems you have to humble yourself,” he said. “You have to learn patience.”
Barrow said he plans to become a dog trainer when he is released and returns to his home near Phoenix.
(Photo: Inmates Ernest Zarza, Rod Knagge, Randy Barrow and Theo Randall talk about the Friends of the Pen program and their new dogs; courtesy Arizona State Prison)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: arizona state prison, corrections, dog, dogs, kingman, prison, prisons, program, rehabilitation, rescue, shelter, train, trainer, training