On April 8th Canines With a Cause began our Pawsitive Healing Prison Program!! It was emotional day, not a dry eye in the Utah State Prison. Six of our shelter dogs moved in with twelve female inmates, who train with the dogs all day every day. The women and prison guards trained with our staff before the dogs arrived and continue to work with them twice a week. This is great for the dogs because they get constant attention and the women are teaching them the skills they'll need to be an amazing service dog to a deserving veteran. One dog shares a cell with two women, although it's a tight squeeze everyone in the program is happy and thriving. We're so excited to finally be partnering with the female corrections facility at the Utah State Prison, it has been a long road.
This program is so important because it saves three lives. The dogs are saved from being euthanized, the prisoners are saved by having a second chance to do something for the community and worthwhile with their lives, and our participating veterans are saved by the hope, love and comfort they receive and give to the dogs. As quoted by one of the offender trainers, "Having him here (Captain) with us every day, it gives us a reason to wake up every morning. It lets us know we're not total failures. It lets us know we can heal."
Meet some of the Pawsitive Healing Dogs:
Star is a one year old Dachshund, she came to Salt Lake Animal Services as a stray. According to her roommates and trainers Ali and Val, she loves sleeping in the grass and chasing ducks. She is very smart and serious about her training. According to Ali, "She loves being around people but ignores the other inmates when she gets focused on a task."
Glory had a rough time before coming into the CWAC program. She was thrown from a car during an accident and hit by another car. Luckily, her tail was the only thing injured, which now has a funny stub. According to her trainers and roommates Sawson and Brandilee, she is a "prissy-missy" obsessed with B-A-L-L's, she can destroy a tennis ball in less than 5 minutes. They train her using praise and love, "she's all that, and knows it," they told us.
CWAC came across a friendly little dog resembling a mop at the West Valley City Shelter. This scruffy little dog is now the famous Jet. He's known for his multicolored mohawk which his trainers Reggie and Cassandra accomplished using Kool-Aid. Jet was a little shy when he first arrived at the prison but according to his trainers he's come out of his shell and is brave boy now. He loves people, food and toys!
Liberty-Liberty is a 4 year old Australian Cattle Dog/Basset Hound mix (best guess). She was a stray we rescued from Salt Lake County Animal Service and is training for a special veteran who is very fond of her. Liberty is living and training with Kerri and Bobbi, they say she is a bit stubborn but is very smart and learns quickly. They both feel they won the lottery when they got Liberty.
Please help us save three lives. GlobalGiving’s second Bonus Day of the year is Wednesday, May 7th. Starting at 9:00 am EDT, they’re offering a 30% match on donations up to $1,000 made to projects on GlobalGiving.org. There are $75,000 available in matching, and they’re offering a $1,000 bonus award for the most money raised and $1,000 bonus award for the most individual donors on that day. This is a great way for you to give more to help our veterans and the dogs that give them unconditional love.
Thank you for making these "happy" stories possible. We couldn't do the important work we do without you. Please take the time to read more about this amazing program through the attached news articles.