Washington Inmates Training Dogs at 8 Prisons
Last week The Columbian reported that the Larch Corrections Center in Yacolt, WA is the latest Washington prison to institute a program where inmates are training dogs rescued from shelters.
The Humane Society for Southwest Washington helps coordinate the program and teaches inmates how to train dogs.
I first learned about these programs at Washington prisons when I visited the Stafford Creek Corrections Center in 2013.
Its Freedom Tails program takes dogs that would most likely be euthanized in animal shelters and gives them “a second chance at life” by pairing them with offenders who improve the dogs’ chances of adoption by teaching them “socialization, housetraining, and much needed obedience skills.”
Freedom Tails gives the dogs structure in their lives, good grooming, house training, and medical care. More importantly, the dogs learn to trust humans.
Furthermore, the program gives offenders “a sense of purpose and responsibility.” And the families adopt a socialized dog trained to understand basic commands.
Ever since my visit to Stafford Creek I’ve been a firm believer in these programs. In fact, we adopted Haley, our Labrador Retriever, from the Freedom Tails program almost two years ago.
If you’re interested in adopting one of these dogs, here’s a list of Washington prisons that have inmate dog training programs.
Here’s a video from the Columbian about the dog training program at Larch Corrections Center. Be sure to listen to the inmates describe the importance of the program to both themselves and the general prison population.