New Leash on Life USA, a groundbreaking non-profit with a heartwarming mission, has partnered up with state prisons to give at-risk shelter dogs a second chance.
So how does this program work? Eligible dogs are taken out of the shelters and transported into a local prison. The dogs are then teamed up with a trained inmate who will serve as their primary caregiver. These inmates are responsible for everything from the first potty break in the morning to putting them in their crate at night.
While at the surface the program seems to be focused on the dogs, the inmates benefit greatly from being partnered with an at-risk pup. New Leash inmates learn how to train and care for the dogs, thus building skills, confidence and future employability. Through working with the dogs, inmates learn a sense of responsibility and unconditional love.
New Leash provides inmates with weekly sessions with professional trainers, animal behaviorists, and veterinary technicians. The inspiring program even sets inmates up with internship opportunities in the animal care field when the are finally released on parole.
After the 12 weeks, each inmate-dog team attends a ceremony. Hand in paw, they graduate and receive a certificate of accomplishment for all of their progress and hard work.
According to New Leash’s website, by 2014, thirty dogs from the program were adopted into forever homes and over 90% of the inmates who graduated from the program qualified for paid internships upon their release.
The New Leash on Life USA says it best: “By rescuing each other, both human and canine graduates of the New Leash program can look ahead to bright and successful futures”