Brody, Diamond and Ella Mae graduated yesterday, meaning they will be leaving the prison where they’ve lived for the past 10 weeks and going to homes with new families.
The three dogs were members of the 16th graduating class of A New Leash on Life, a program in which inmates give shelter dogs the training they need to be welcomed into new homes.
The inmate trainers, all of whom received certificates, also get something more out of the deal — pride, self-esteem, and a job skill, for starters. Several of them spoke about what they’d gotten out of the program during yesterday’s ceremony, noting that dog training requires, above all, patience, compassion and love.
The program at Forsyth Correctional Center, a minimum-security state prison in Winston-Salem, is operated by the Forsyth Humane Society — and it’s one of 16 in prisons statewide.
Dogs from the shelter are referred to the inmates who, with help from professional trainers, straighten out any issues the canines may have, often while simultaneously straightening out their own.
Brody, Diamond and Ella Mae, all wearing bandanas and mortarboards, were each brought in front of the stage with their trainer, and later demonstrated their agility and obedience skills in front of the audience in a nearby field.
Brody, to the left, a one year old pit mix who was originally rescued from a kill shelter as a pup, departed after the ceremony with his new family, Dan and Denise Nelson and their daughter, Mari. They first came across him on the Internet, and later met him at an adoption fair before visiting him at the prison.
Diamond, a Rhodesian ridgeback-boxer mix whose energy level was more than her previous owners could handle, left with her new family, too — but not until after demonstrating her skills on the prison’s agility course.
Ella Mae was destined for a new home as well.
Humane Society officials announced the next three canine members of the program, who will arrive at the prison this week. They’ll include two energetic husky mixes, Jonah and Dude. Dude ended up in the shelter after wandering alone into a pet supply store.
Inmates in the program are guided by professional trainers, provided through the Winston-Salem Dog Training Club, who donate their time to the program. The program receives no state or federal funding, and the humane society covers all medical care, supplies and expenses.
Forsyth Correctional Center launched the program in 2009, but it has been operating at some other North Carolina state prisons since 2004.
You can find more information on the New Leash on Life program — whose slogan is “Changing men’s lives one dog at a time” — here.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a new leash on life, animals, brody, diamond, dogs, dude, ella mae, forsyth correctional center, forsyth humane society, inmates, jonah, new leash on life, north carolina, pets, prison, prisoners, program, rehabilitation, rescue, second chances, shelters, train, trainers, winston-salem, winston-salem dog training club