Prison Pups N Pals is a program we take great pride in at Halifax Humane Society. In this program, we work with the Tomoka Correctional Institute to train otherwise friendly dogs to make them more adoptable. Our healthy, spayed/neutered dogs are sent to live in a prison environment for seven weeks. There, they are paired with a pair of inmate trainers and caretakers, who have been taught by our animal behavior manager on how to work with a dog.
The program serves a dual purpose that leads to positive futures for both the inmates and the dogs. The inmates receive education on the proper training methods and care of the dogs in hopes that the skills provided to them will lead to a job in animal services. Meanwhile, the dogs receive obedience training that prepares them for a happy life in their forever home.
Some Prison Pups are now completing a second round of training to be a part of the Paws of Freedom program. Paws of Freedom matches veterans with companion dogs. Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs joined the existing Prison Pups N Pals program to create Paws of Freedom. Each class of Prison Pups now has two or more dogs selected to become a companion dog for a veteran. These dogs help owners that may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), providing them with emotional support.
Following adoption, veterans associated with Paws of Freedom receive additional financial support, a care package, and one year of health insurance to help them with their new companion dog. Paws of Freedom follows a collective body of research data that supports the overall benefit of companion dogs to the psychological and physiological health of individuals with whom they interact, especially their owners.
Here is the next graduating class, #47!