It’s hard to imagine that a story set in a prison is going to make you feel good, but this one will.
In 2014, Karma Rescue in Southern California started Paws for Life, a training program at California State Prison – Los Angeles County. It was one of the first such programs for inmates serving life sentences in a high-security prison. Not only has it saved dozens of dogs’ lives and helped them get adopted into loving homes, it’s changed the way the inmates feel about themselves, other people, and even the correctional officers in the prison.
Karma Rescue founder and President Rande Levine said, “These guys here are helping our babies get homes. To me, that means we can save more animals.”
“My job is to be able to train inmates to train dogs to the level of Canine Good Citizen,” said Mark Tipton, trainer for Karma Rescue. “I work these guys really hard, and make sure they’re able to do what I’m asking them to do. Their confidence has gone way up, and they’ve also developed their skills. And now, they’ve turned into fantastic trainers.”
LA Animal Services’ Dean Funatsu said, “A lot of dogs that do come into the shelter have never been trained, and never been socialized. They’re rough around the edges. The trainers here smooth them out so they can be adopted, and it’s gratifying to see that.”
One of the inmates involved in the program, DeAngelo McVay, said, “That’s what we’re looking for in life, a second chance. And that’s what we’re able to give these dogs. It means… oh man, it’s good.”
Inmate Justin McCullochm described the program as a powerful win for everyone involved. “This is rehabilitation,” he said. “This saves the dogs’ lives. It changes our lives. It changes the officers in here. It changes the local community.”
And that’s why this is your #FeelGoodFriday video. Have a great one!