Everyone deserves a second chance: both humans and dogs. That is just what is happening through a program at the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility that is having a big positive impact on dogs and humans alike. Thanks to the Fully Rescue Educational Development Program, the inmates in the facility are matched up with dogs from a local animal shelter, PAW Animal Shelter. Once the dogs arrive, they live alongside their handler for eight weeks, but it could be shorter or longer based on their progress. The handlers spend every moment with their dog, helping to train them, correct problem behaviors, and ultimately get them ready to be adopted into loving homes.
Each of the dogs in the program have been deemed “unadoptable” for some reason, so this program is their second chance at a forever home. The handlers gather in a classroom each week to go over training tips and give each other advice as they talk through any issues they are experiencing. The dogs have made incredible transformations, according to the director of the FREED Program. She says dogs that were terrified of people are now calm and affectionate. Most of them have graduated from the program and were adopted into loving homes.
The program helps relieve the large number of dogs in the shelter and helps the dog have some normalcy in their lives. It has a huge impact on inmates too, who have a purpose with the dogs by their side. The dogs live with their handlers 24/7 and there are several inmates who are trained in the program to help the primary handlers before being eligible to be primary handlers. Handlers receive $100 per month for their assistance. The inmates say the dogs help them stay out of trouble and focus on helping the dogs have a chance at a wonderful life.