Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Animals and Prison Inmates: a Mutual Benefit

Animals can provide great therapy. Here's a story about prisoners in San Quentin who help dogs in need.

Last year, Melody was just another typical mongrel from Taiwan: sharp features, pointy ears, curly tail. A fat scar around her muzzle looked as if it had been closed with electrical tape, leading her Taiwan rescuers to believe she had been destined to be somebody's entree.

When the 35-pound mutt arrived at the Marin Humane Society, she was frightened, wary and withdrawn, refusing to leave her crate even for food. Today, Melody is thriving as the beloved pet of Dick and Sandy Drew. Their union came about thanks to Pen Pals of San Quentin, an innovative partnership between the Marin Humane Society and San Quentin State Prison.

The program, funded entirely by the humane society, shows inmate handlers how to teach basic obedience skills and make shelter dogs more adoptable. Since 2005, they have helped at least 86 dogs find homes.

I think this is a chance for mutual rehabilitation. The dog get training and care, and the inmates get to make a difference in their lives and learn compassion.

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