Prison training program teaches inmates to train shelter dogs

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ADA, OK -- There are many dogs in Pontotoc County looking for a good home, and now with the help of a unique program, some of them are already trained in their basic skills.

Meet Axel.

He knows all his basic tricks like sitting and laying down, and he learned it all from an inmate at the Davis Corrrectional Facility in Holdenville.

"We take a total of 10 dogs, and we take them to the prison and they live with an inmate in the cells," said Executive Director of A New Leash on Life Inc., Barbara Lewis. "Then we have an instructor that goes every week and they teach the dogs basic manners."

Lewis says they work with many rural animal shelters like PAWS Animal Shelter in Ada.

PAWS employee, Sarah Eaves, says they've been involved with the "Pen Pals Prison Program" for over 5 years.

"She'll kind of look at the dogs and see maybe he's a jumper, or maybe he's too hyper, and she'll pick those dogs so that way they can reverse those bad habits and they'll be better off for adoption," Eaves said.

Eaves says the dogs are sent to the prison for 10 weeks at a time, and when they come back they're a completely different dog.

"You weren't able to pet him much, would not walk on a leash, and now I can hold him and he's got his manners," Eaves said.

Lewis says the program also gives the inmates the chance to do something positive while serving their time.

"They feel like by taking care of the dogs, and by helping the animal shelters and making the dogs more adoptable, that that is their way of giving back to the community," Lewis said.

PAWS is planning on sending 7 more dogs in the next training program.

To help out, you can visit the PAWS and A New Leash On Life Websites

PAWS Animal Shelter

A New Leash on Life Inc.