Prison program gives dogs, inmates 2nd chances
ALTO, Ga. - It isn’t often that one hears about inmates saving lives, but at one state prison in north Georgia they are doing just that. A special program allows prisoners to help rescue dogs from shelters and give them a second chance at life.
Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto appears to be a typical prison on the outside, but on the inside there is something special going with dogs living with inmates. Forever Friends K9 Rescue is a program that pairs inmates with dogs from the Habersham County Animal Shelter.
Dogs who have been at the shelter too long and were slated to be put down get a second chance. For 12 weeks 7 dogs live and train with two inmates a piece. They concentrate on obedience, crate training and being house broken. The goal is for the dogs to be adopted out by their forever family.
And for the inmates it is a bit more complicated. 37-year-old Pearl Hartley says she was a very lost person going into the prison. She says her addiction to pills landed her behind bars.
Pearl’s projects are Angel, a lab mix who spent the first 6 months of her life in a cage built for a Pomeranian. She is still a bit unsure of the world, but Pearl has helped Angel come out of her shell. If you ask Pearl, she says it’s angel who has taught her how to live.
And that’s what Warden Kathy Seabolt says it is all about, the second chances.
The prison tried out the program for the first time this summer. All the dogs were adopted out to staff and families of inmates. This group of dogs will be ready for adoption the week before Christmas.
For more information on how you can adopt one of the dogs visit the Habersham County Animal Control website by clicking here.
Video at the link!
“The most important thing is to not judge others. So many people look at someone with tattoos or piercings or certain clothes and immediately judge them. Our society is all about control. But life is all about tolerance and understanding.”
“Have you ever caught yourself judging people based on their appearance?”
“Of course. I have to remind myself daily to not do so. You have to work on these things.”
“When did you start to dress the way you do?”
“All my life. My parents tried to stop me from wearing hats. They made me wear these very plain hats to church and I refused. As soon as I got on my own, I started wearing wild hats. I love hats. I have over 100 of them. But the other day I met a woman who had over 300!”
“Have you ever been on the receiving end of judgmental attitudes?”
“Oh, yes. People look at my hats and think I’m crazy, or they think that just because I’m overweight I’m stupid. I’m a professor; I’ve taught for 40 years. I’m not stupid, I’ll tell you that much. Tomorrow I’m going to get an Affiliate Intellectual Freedom Award for my efforts against book censorship.
Now, I’ll tell you what we shouldn’t tolerate. We shouldn’t tolerate homelessness; we shouldn’t tolerate hunger; we shouldn’t tolerate poverty. People who want a job should have a job, and we better raise the minimum wage!”