Dogs are people’s best friends. They are extremely loyal and develop unconditional love for their caregiver.
Numerous people find the company of a dog extremely helpful in some difficult times of their lives, and this stimulates the Canine CellMates foundation to run a program with the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta.
Namely, this program allows inmates to train and care for shelter dogs for two months.
This has numerous benefits: inmates learned responsibility and accountability, and these temporary owners felt the unconditional love of their dogs, which helped them gained confidence in working towards a positive outcome. Moreover, they developed skills that will help them to become law-abiding and productive.
J. Lennox Gavin, a professional dog trainer, and director of training for Canine CellMates, says that in this way, they teach the inmates how to face problems in a positive way, and it caused a true transformation with them.
Moreover, this program drastically reduces the percentage of violent outbursts in prison and jail facilities, and recidivism rates have shown dramatic improvements.
One success story is the one of John Dolan and the pitbull George, that transformed this life completely. George felt responsible for taking care of the dog, which meant he should stay out of prison in order to be able to provide care for it. Therefore, he started selling his draftsman and stayed away from drugs.
The program also showed that responsibility should not be taken away, but it should be given, as it can serve as an effective tool to make positive change.
Susan Jacobs-Meadows, an avid dog lover, explains that when she heard of these programs, she wanted to start one in Fulton County. She wanted to make a difference by changing people from the inside, and at the same time, help dogs to find better homes.
The program uses dogs as the instrument that can change these men and make them better parents to their children, better children to their parents, and better citizens in the community.
To do so, she claims that they need help in everything from fundraising, marketing to helping with canine transport and the adoption program.