In last month’s Community Conversation call, Zach Skow, the Executive Director of Marley’s Mutts, spoke about his dog training prison program, Pawsitive Change. Having experienced the transformative powers of rehabilitation through his connection with dogs, Zach has made it his mission to make a difference, finding great success through the program.
Joining Skow are two remarkable individuals, Didontae Farmer, and Brian James, both former graduates of the Pawsitive Change Program and now leaders in their community. Their stories are living proof of the program’s impact. Farmer and James faced the challenges and struggles of reintegration into society after incarceration but found guidance and success through the program.
Farmer, a lead trainer at Camp Kilpatrick, shared, “For me, it’s personal. It’s something that really means a lot, and it touches my heart because I grew up in these facilities.” What began as only five juvenile program members has now grown to the whole juvenile facility. James adds, “They have role models that walk like them, talk like them and look like them.”
Skow’s unwavering companionship with his dog paved the way for Marley’s Mutts, a rescue organization in Central California, with the Pawsitive Change Program following soon after. It now expands across the prison system, operating in multiple state and federal facilities, including transformative work in many juvenile programs.
The heart of the Pawsitive Change Program lies in reciprocal transformation. Those who once faced uncertainty now find themselves with a sense of purpose as individuals through training dogs and receiving unconditional love and success in return.
Watch how this inspiring journey unfolds during our weekly Community Conversations, Prison Training Program Part 2, and hear how dogs can change lives and revolutionize the prison system.