Inmates train new round of dogs for adoption

BURGAW, NC (WECT)- A second chance at life is rare, but a national organization with local chapters is helping both inmates and dogs get back on track.

A New Leash on Life is a program allowing minimum and medium custody state prisons to partner with local animal shelters to train dogs as they get ready for adoption.

Not only does this help adoption centers train dogs to find forever homes, but it is a chance for prisoners to give back to the community, too.

Pawsitive Partners Prison Program is our region's New Leash on Life program and is based in Pender County. One of the organizers, Barbara Raab, says the program has a huge success rate and is one of the best in the state.

The program has since been approved for New Hanover County and Duplin County, they will be starting soon.

Five dogs are chosen to participate in the Pawsitive Partners program and are put through a nine week training program at the prison. The chosen inmates use positive reinforcement to train the dogs with obedience training to prepare them for adoption.

Raab says the program allows inmates to learn valuable skills.

"It teaches them a lot of skills they'll need getting out of prison," Raab says. "The dogs are learning to trust humans again and the inmates are learning to trust each other and to trust their animals."

Pawsitive Partners is one of 18 like it in the state and continues to make a difference.

"We started to save dogs from the shelter and we ended up saving humans as well," Raab says. "That's what it's all about. Second chances for these guys and second chances for the humans in our prison systems."

The dogs going through the program right now and are all looking for a family to adopt them.

If you would like to take one of them, or learn more about the program,visit their website here or call (910) 259-7911.

Raab is the founder of Monty's Home, the non profit organization that includes Pawsitive Partners, as well as Ped Ed 101 and Rainbow Bridge Journey.

It's run entirely by volunteers. One of the biggest fundraisers, the Pet Expo, is taking place on February 19. The public is invited to come and has a chance to win several prizes, including five thousand dollars in a raffle.

Copyright 2011 WECT. All Rights Reserved.