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Pups On Parole

By Krystal Newton, HCWS Volunteer

At the thought of a prison, the average person may imagine a building with holding cells.  A building where mistakes are paid for with limitation, restriction, boredom, loneliness.  The average person may look at a prison and see people who are violent, dangerous, broken, or lost.  But the people from the Heaven Can Wait Animal Society are anything but average.  They do not look at a prison only to see the lost and broken.  They look at a prison and see hope, opportunity, and the possibility for second chances…not a prison, but a true correctional facility.  The people of Heaven Can Wait have taken their vision of a prison as a true correctional facility and applied it to a program that provides a brighter future for both humans and homeless dogs – the Pups on Parole program

Rusty, a current "Pup On Parole"

The founders of Heaven Can Wait started the Pups on Parole program in September of 2004.  The idea is to house homeless dogs at the Jean and Southern Nevada Correctional Facilities for women.  Each woman is assigned a dog, which they teach basic commands, train to walk on a leash, and sleep near at night. 

Many of the dogs that enter the program have been abandoned, abused, and neglected.  Socialization, positive interaction, and training allow these dogs to not only “sit” and “stay,” but the most important part of their rehabilitation:  trust. 

The most amazing part of the Pups on Parole program is that the rehabilitation goes both ways.  The women are able to create positive relationships with someone who will never judge or criticize.  The trust between the dogs and the women can be truly unconditional as they learn together that they deserve a second chance.  Together they learn obedience, teamwork, responsibility, love, and how to care for another life.  According to Tania, the dog coordinator for Pups on Parole, “Many of the women who have been released are now private dog trainers, work in vet offices as technicians, groomers, dog-walkers, kennel attendants, and many other animal-related fields…they often make the most hardworking employees because this program teaches them that responsibility and dedication.” 

The program has successfully adopted out about 1,200 dogs to loving homes, and they are continuing the effort to give homeless dogs the opportunity to find their forever homes.  Pups on Parole is truly an inspirational program that believes in the miracle of hope, trust, and an open heart.


4 Responses

  1. I think this is a terrific program- Also I’m looking to volunteer my time to help with anything @ the shelter.

  2. Great informative article! I believe animals can be the best form of therapy for people who have gone through hardships. Not only do dogs provide a sense of comfort, but they also are able to give people a feeling of unconditional love and support. I have three dogs at home who are always there to greet me when I come home; every person should get the opportunity to experience this.

  3. This is a wonderful program!!! I adopted Tawny for my husband. She had such bad luck with previous owners and other things. She is loving, smart, gentle and we trust her with our granddaughter. She crack us up, she patrols the yard. It’s so funny and yet we know no one will jump our fence. If or when we get another dog it will diffently be from Pups on Parole.

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