Prisoners partnered with pups - Part 2
PALATKA, Fla. -- The Humane Society of Northeast Florida, a no-kill shelter in Putnam County, runs a program called T.A.I.L.S. - Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills - which seems to provide homeless dogs a better chance at going to a forever home by pairing them up with inmates.Laird Miller, an inmate at Lawtey Correctional Institution, was one of the men paired with Maxi, a 10-month old greyhound whippet mix. Laird remembers what Maxi was like when she first arrived at the institution, "She was a terror, 10 months old, high energy she still had the puppy in her. No obedience in her whatsoever, very wild."
The program lasts 12 weeks and the dogs are with the inmates 24-7 helping the dogs to learn basic skills as well as helping the inmates by lowering stress and offering companionship.
Miller noticed a big difference in Maxi after going through the T.A.I.L.S. program, "She's definitely grown, she sits, stays down, waits, pretty much all your basic commands."
On graduation not only did Maxi win the Top Dog Award, but she was also quickly adopted and went straight from the institution to her new forever home. Miller states, "It's a double edged sword, you get attached to these dogs. You wake up at 4 in the morning to take them out and try to accommodate them and you build a bond with them and it's hard to let them go but at least you know you helped them get a second chance and get adopted. It's a good feeling."
All of dogs who went through the featured class have found forever homes taking the shelter's average 10 percent adoption rate up to 100 percent.
The program and the shelter are in jeopardy of shutting down if they can't raise enough money by the end of January. They are in dire need of donations and need to raise about $50,000 to operate the shelter daily and pay for the T.A.I.L.S. program. If you would like to help you can go to their website and make a tax deductible donation, http://www.hsnefl.org .
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