Several months ago, as I tossed and turned, sleep evading me, I grew more and more frustrated. As a last ditch effort I strolled into the living room and turned on the TV, hoping to catch an infomercial which always lulled me to dreamland.
As I switched channels, a fascinating show in progress caught my eye and kept me riveted to the screen. Sleep? Who needed it anyway!
This fascinating program featured a story about prison inmates learning to socialize and train homeless dogs to prepare them to be suitable for adoption to loving families.
The prisoners lived with the dogs 24/7, bonding with them through feeding, grooming, teaching basic commands and playtime. Some inmates were working with dogs that previously were considered unadoptable.
I was fascinated as I watched the unfolding story about the deep relationships which developed between the inmates and canines and the powerful commitment to the welfare of these formerly "unwanted" dogs which the inmates were willing to make.
The dogs' dilemma seemed to perhaps parallel the lives of the inmates and touched a very deep compassionate place in their hearts as they opened to their canine charges.
While the stories ended happily with the dogs finding forever homes, the inmates felt a huge sense of loss as the dogs were given to their adoptive "parents" in a closing ceremony at the end of the dog's training period.
The good news, however, was that the inmates received other dogs with which to "foster" and train. I wanted to find out more about the canine and prison inmate program.
Much to my delight, I came across an article, Puppies Behind Bars, yesterday. Featured on Petside, one of my favorite pet oriented hangouts on the Internet, once again I was riveted to my screen. The story discusses how dogs are being specifically trained to become service dogs for the disabled and bomb detection canines for law enforcement. This is being done through programs offered by seven prisons in NY, NJ and Ct.
I highly recommend that you go to Petside's web site to read their featured article about this amazing program. Learn all about the training program and the types of dogs that are suited for this work. I know you will find the Puppies Behind Bars video fascinating.
Personally I think that the program is a wonderful opportunity for inmates to work closely with these dogs and ignite that compassionate and tender spot in their hearts. Perhaps it will give a whole new meaning to their lives knowing that they have had a hand in helping others. What was your reaction to the story? Please do share your thoughts with us after your visit to Petside.