This post is for anyone in Washington who plans to adopt a dog from a local shelter.
First of all, THANK YOU for adopting a shelter dog. Our shelters have so many fantastic dogs, both purebreds and mixed breeds, that will provide you and your family with a years of love, devotion, and companionship.
Second, when you’re ready to get your dog, I urge you to consider adopting a dog trained at one of several Washington prisons that have formed partnerships with local rescues/shelters.
In case you didn’t know, all Washington prisons operate some kind of animal training or adoption program.
According to the Washington Department of Corrections website, “these animal–focused programs help connect offenders with living things which is a cornerstone of the Department’s Sustainability in Prisons Project.” In addition, these programs “benefit local communities, teach the offenders responsibility and provide an incentive to maintain positive behavior while incarcerated.”
The programs also saves lives as many of the dogs that go into the training programs would have been euthanized either because a shelter had no room for it or it had behavior problems because it wasn’t trained properly (or at all).
I’m a fervent supporter of dog training programs in prisons. I first learned about them when I wrote this story about the Freedom Tails program at the Stafford Creek Correctional Facility in Aberdeen that’s run in conjunction with Harbor Association of Volunteers for Animals (HAVA).
I was so impressed with the program that when my wife and I were ready to adopt another dog earlier this year after we had to put down one of our dogs last October, we adopted a 2-3 year old Yellow Labrador Retriever named Haley from the Freedom Tails program last June.
As you can tell from this blog post, we couldn’t have had a better experience with Haley. Her transition into our home with our other dog and cat was virtually seamless, and because she had 10 weeks of basic training at Stafford Creek, she had no behavior issues (other than eating the cat’s food when she can sneak upstairs when we aren’t looking).
If my post somehow convinced you to adopt a dog trained in one of Washington’s prisons, or if you’re interested but want more information, you should contact the shelter that partners with the prison.
Most states have prisons that have similar programs so check on your state department of corrections to see if there is one near you.
Here’s a list of the prisons in Washington that train dogs for the public and links to the animal shelters that partner with them:
Airway Heights Corrections Center – Pawsitive Dogs in partnership with Spokanimal
Clallam Bay Corrections Center – Welfare Animal Guild
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center – Ridge Dogs in partnership with Benton Franklin Humane Society, Adams County Pet Rescue and Forgotten Dogs Rescue
Larch Corrections Center – Humane Society for SW Washington
Olympic Corrections Center – Olympic Peninsula Humane Society
Stafford Creek Corrections Center – Freedom Tails in partnership with Harbor Association of Volunteers for Animals (HAVA)
Washington State Penitentiary – Blue Mountain Humane Society
Washington Corrections Center for Women – Prison Pet Partnership
(The offenders in other Washington prison train service dogs or law enforcement dogs that aren’t available for adoption to the general public).