Arkansas Paws in Prison is committed to rehabilitating inmates and giving rescue dogs a second chance at life by preparing them to be loving, obedient, adoptable pets. The Paws in Prison program pairs inmate trainers with rescue dogs for eight to ten weeks of obedience training and socialization in preparation for adoption. Prior to graduating from the program, each dog must pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Ready test. Because the dogs are properly socialized and trained, their chances of adoption improve drastically, and the risk of being returned to a shelter for unruly behavior decreases significantly. Many of our program’s “graduates” have gone on to become therapy animals and service dogs, including the first water leak detection dog in North America. Paws in Prison collaborates with animal shelters and rescues throughout the state to advance its goal to reduce the number of dogs languishing in shelters and reduce the number of dogs euthanized each year in Arkansas. Since the program began in 2011, more than 2,200 dogs have been rescued, trained, and adopted by loving forever families.
Additionally, Arkansas Paws in Prison strives to decrease recidivism rates by providing incarcerated individuals with the opportunity to give back to the community and acquire skills that support successful rehabilitation and re-entry into society. Over the years, Paws in Prison has continued to expand its capacity to fulfill the need for vocational training and rehabilitation programs for offenders. Male and female inmates at seven prison facilities throughout the state now have the opportunity to learn the vocational skill of dog training. Inmate trainers attend weekly professional training classes and maintain a daily journal of their dog’s progress, which improves their literacy and communication skills. In addition to employment skills, participants also gain interpersonal skills. The program teaches them responsibility, compassion, and to care for others.
Many of the trainers are hired for animal-related jobs after parole. A number of released participants have dedicated their lives to saving animals and work for Paws in Prison’s partner rescues and shelters, and several have established successful careers as service dog trainers. One former inmate trainer now works in the prisons as a professional dog training instructor, teaching inmates in the program and serving as an example of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication after incarceration.
Arkansas Paws in Prison Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The program is supported by donations and the sale of recyclables. You can make a tax-deductible donation online or by mailing your donation to Arkansas Paws in Prison Foundation at 1302 Pike Avenue, Suite C – North Little Rock, AR 72114.
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