Prisoners have been given dogs for cell mates – and the results are beautiful

Prisoners and abandoned dogs are helping each other get their lives on track | Metro News

Jen Mills for Saturday 7 Nov 2015 11:05 am

A new scheme where prisoners train dogs abandoned at shelters is changing lives – both for the people and the animals.

Inmates at a prison in America can get matched up with a dog awaiting adoption, and the pair then spend two months looking after each other 24/7.

When the dogs first arrive, they often have no training and are nervous because being in a shelter is a strange environment.

But after the dogs have spent a few days just chilling out and settling in, the prisoners start teaching them tricks like sit, stay and roll over.

Shelter dogs and prison inmates are paired for bonding exercises (Picture: CNN)

Once the dogs are trained, they stand more chance of finding a family to adopt them so it’s great news for the animals.

But it turns out looking after a dog and helping them also benefits the inmates – as anyone who has looked after a pet themselves probably won’t be surprised by.

Susan Jacobs-Meadows, executive director of Canine CellMates, said: ‘Most of these guys gave up believing that there was very much of value to them a long time ago. But when that dog loves them and trusts them that starts to change how they feel about themselves.’

The prison inmates and dogs are together 24/7 (Picture: CNN)

Some of the prisoners at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta out saw similarities between the animals and their own situations, CNN reported.

One man said: ‘The bond that me and Fred have… He came to a place where he was going to be put to death and I came from a place that was on the bad side.

‘If Fred can have an opportunity to go to a good home and he can change, that makes me want to change the environment that I’m in. That means I can do better also. ‘

Prisoner Joseph Baker added: This programme has changed me – it has taught me to have responsibility and how to have patience.’

Dogs can change lives (Picture: CNN)