Leash on life

Sometimes dogs aren’t the only ones who need second chances.

The Leash on Life program is a groundbreaking Pennsylvania program that pairs prison inmates with shelter dogs. The inmates take in dogs that are at high risk for being euthanized and go to live with an inmate where they will be trained to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizens test.

Higher training makes dogs more appealing to potential buyers, especially if they are a high euthanasia risk dog like a Pit Bull.

Inmates working with their dogs in Pennsylvania

Inmates working with their dogs in Pennsylvania

However, the dogs are not the only ones who benefit from this program. Not only do the handlers receive love and compassion from their doggie partner, the inmates learn to take responsibility for the animal by personally training and grooming their dog. This helps to give the inmate specific experience that may help them get a job when they leave prison.

The inmates are responsible for everything the dog needs during the 12-week program and every dog that has participated in the program has passed the Canine Good Citizen test with flying colors.

Inmate in Pennsylvania taking care of his dog

Inmate in Pennsylvania taking care of his dog

At the end of 2014 thirty dogs had been adopted from the Pennsylvania program, and over 90% of inmates who graduated the program have qualified for paid internships upon their release.

Locally, there is a program called ICAN that works with prison inmates in a similar program. These inmates work to train service dogs and then work with their new owners at the end of the program.

ICAN trained dog working with its new owner

ICAN trained dog working with its new owner

For more information on the ICAN program visit their site.

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