A dog named Bandit first found himself in the shelter when he was picked up as a stray in Georgia. While has the Gwinnet County Animal Shelter, he was brought into the Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program. However, after being checked by a vet, it was determined Bandit had heartworm. So, he was given treatment to fight the often-fatal disease. While this treatment is routine and has no lasting effects for most dogs, it caused Bandit to become paralyzed in his back legs. The paralysis in the lower half of his body was permanent, so the Society of Humane Friends of Georgia, who runs the jail program, gathered funds to buy him his very own wheelchair.
Bandit has been a member of the Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program for over four years now. In that time, he has been adopted and returned four times by four families. Each time, his adoptive family said they could not deal with his disability and all the work involved. The Jail Dogs program began in 2010 and it works to take dogs from shelter who are at risk and house them with inmates. Dogs have a handler and that individual cares for and trains their dog, who also sleeps in their cell. Animal professionals and trainers visit the jail regularly to help with training and provide basic education to inmates. The program includes both dogs and cats.
Bandit has thrived in the program and the dog, who is eight, is one of the most beloved dogs in the entire program thanks to his sweet nature and calmness—but love of play, too. He gets along with other dogs and humans and loves to run to the deputy’s desk for treats. He even learned special tricks he can perform in his wheelchair. His paralysis means he needs extra help going to the bathroom, but he rarely has accidents if kept on a strict schedule. While he needs some extra care, he would make a loving pet for someone willing to go the extra mile to help him and love him.