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The Double Blessing – Saving the Lives of Both Dogs AND People

By Carol Lisowski, HCWS Volunteer 

Is it merely a catchy title that might appeal to the human heart, without true substance?  No, absolutely not!

Whoever started the Pups on Parole program was a very insightful person.  You may know someone who adopted a dog out of this program, or at least you’ve probably heard about it.  This program is often the last chance for dogs on “death row.”  These dogs are often deemed untrainable, aggressive, or just out of control. 

The dogs that come into the program are paired with handlers at either the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center (Southern Nevada Correctional Facility for Women) in North Las Vegas or at the Camp in Jean, Nevada.  The handlers spend hours living and working with their dogs to enable them to become great dogs who can go on to be great family pets.  Whether these dogs came from situations of neglect, abuse or the human’s inability to control them, they learn basic commands, learn how to socialize with humans and other dogs, and most important, they find love — some for the very first time in their lives.

I’d like to share a story with you from one of the handlers in the dog pod at FMWCC.

For myself, being a convicted “felon,” the program offers a double blessing.  I have the opportunity to learn all about animal behaviors, habits, instincts, issues, and myths about dogs and certain breeds in particular.  I have learned how to be responsible for another life.  I learned how to train my dogs, which we call rehab – for misfit dogs.  These are unwanted dogs that were abused, neglected, forgotten or just plain tossed aside.  It is heartbreaking, to see these dogs when they first arrive and then feel so much pride and joy as we celebrate their recovery.  Most of them just want another chance and are generally responsive to our care and training.  It is both a sad and happy day for us handlers when they graduate from the program and leave to hopefully find a “forever” home.

To be able to be a part of saving these dogs’ lives to me is “paying it forward,” giving back to the community, and a chance to make some amends.  What do I get out of it?  The program teaches me self-worth, morality, compassion, how to love, and provides emotional healing.  Working with these dogs is reflective of my own personal recovery.  We both are broken, lost, and unloved.  It is with love that we, in the program, dedicate ourselves to helping these dogs recover and in the process; we make great progress in our own recovery.  This program has changed my life forever.

If you would like to adopt a dog from the Pups on Parole program, visit the HCWS Adoptions Page to see who is seeking that “Forever Home.”

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One Response

  1. We adopted our Chloe (Clotilda, queen of the hounds, Cloetta Lynn, Chloester toaster, etc.) in mid 2007. Our thanks to the lady at Jean who worked with her. She loves her two boxer playmates, Tiger and Honey Bee, and they chase each other and play, even in the snow. Chloe took to Tiger immediately. (As Mary Ellen said, after seeing Chloe share my lap for 30 minutes with Tiger, “This is a no brainer.” We had one problem in that we did not know she did not like being disturbed at bed time. She snapped at our faces when we tried to kiss her goodnight. I slapped her muzzle and we have had no more problems. Over the 3 1/2 years we have had her, she has progressed in behavior. Boxers tend to “smile” at times and this Fall, our Chloe started showing teeth in a tiny smile. She often lays at Daddy’s feet or beside him on the couch, where she gets the best ear rubs. She has gone from the “I need nobody” girl she was in 2007 to the “I know I am loved” girl she is now. She still sometimes approaches her Daddy with a sad look in her eyes and puts her head on his knee. She gets the loving she needs. Daddy knows how much she needs it by asking her up on the couch. If she walks away, she just needed a little reassurance. Because of her size, softer fur, and body shape, Daddy wondered about me. Someone gave him a DNA (I think it means “Dogs’ Need Ancestors) kit. Mommy swabbed my mouth and low and behold, I have a smidge of American Gloucester Terrier and also West Highland Terrier in my blood lines. Daddy says that AGT is a fancy name for Pit Bull, if pictures mean anything. That would account for my temper. Although she outweighs me, I am the dog that Honey Bee respects the most. If she bugs me, I sometimes give her a “look” and she gets lost quickly. Daddy thinks that is funny to see a 45 lb dog back a 60 lb dog around the living room. Daddy took me in thinking I was a boxer, and he says it doesn’t matter about the little bits of other breeds. I have heard him say that he loves all dogs, and he shows it often (I am jealous), but since having a boxer, he says that we are the best and prefers us. Maybe he will tell more stories in the future about all of us. Daddy has had 5 boxers, 4 of whom were adopted, and hopes to have enough years left to help out other boxers. We all wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and we hope that many of our four legged alumni found their forever home this month.

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