Saturday, April 25, 2009
Since I am supporter of the New York City organization, Puppies Behind Bars, I am always uplifted when I articles or any information about prisoners working with pets. The Des Moines Register profiled two Iowa prisons which encourage inmates to rehabilitate dogs and cats so that these animas can be placed in loving homes.
About 100 dogs annually receive care from Mitchellville Prison inmates through the prison's PAWS program, which stands for Pets and Women Succeeding. Five inmates provide full-time care for dogs through the Mitchellville's PAWS program. They work in two, eight-hour shifts each day, using dog-friendly methods to teach dog training basics, including housebreaking and crate training as well as walking on a leash. Additionally, at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, is the WHISKERS program. WHISKERS, an acronym for Women Helping Indigent Special Kittens Earn Residence, care for abandoned cats and kittens.
Last year, my dog club, the Metropolitan Dog Club, sponsored Metropolitan, a Puppy Behind Bars, last year. Although we received regular letters from her puppy raiser, Rosa, who was incarcarated at the women's correctional facility in Bedford, NY, we never knew how much Metro meant to Rosa until we got the scrapbook that Rosa made of Metro's accomplishments. The day that I got it, I cried and cried and cried because I knew how much that little puppy meant to Rosa. Belive it or not, Rosa included Metro's nail clipping. Actually, I am crying now thinking about it. Metro has moved on; she is currently working as a canine explosion detection dog and Rosa was paroled from the Bedford facility in November. Metro was her last dog.
From our sponsorship experience, our club did learn that one dog can make a difference in one person's life. As a result, I encourage you to support any program that help prisioners work with dogs.