Be Inspired by These Prison Program Dogs


Need to Feel Inspired? I don’t know about you, but much of the time these days I feel stressed, and afraid. The world we live in right now seems so full of unpleasant people, scary politics, overwhelming news about climate change, and on and on.

Sometimes I cry at how cruel people can be to each other, to the planet we live on and to its animal inhabitants.

I feel sometimes like we are on some kind of collision course with disaster, and I have many waves of feeling hopeless, and wonder if we can ever be and do better.

And then I look at something like Paws for Life K9 Rescue and their Prison Program, and I feel a little surge of hope. I remember that not everything is bleak. That there are extraordinary people out there who are striving to create change, to create a small space in which people and dogs can work together to learn, to heal, to inspire and encourage each other to grow and to begin again. To never lose hope. To inspire and be inspired.

Paws for Life K9 Prison Program

In this program, inmate trainers at the prison partner with our rescued dogs to teach basic commands, behavior and socialization. Over the course of the 12 weeks, prisoners and dogs prepare for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification, the gold-standard in canine obedience.

  • In April of 2014, PFL was the first dog rehabilitation program ever launched in a men’s maximum-security prison

  • Since 2014, 58 men and 173 dogs have worked through this program at Lancaster, and since 2016, 37 men and 110 dogs have participated in PFL at the Mule Creek State prison in Ione.

  • Paws For Life has had the most commutations of life-sentences of any program in the state

  • Some of the dogs from this program go on to participate in the PTSD Program: This training program prepares rescue dogs to be Service Dogs for military Veterans with PTSD.

Inspiring Stories from the Program

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"For nearly twenty years, I have drifted and weathered the cold dark storm of prison life. Above me, are the walls of prison politics, racial segregation, gangs and drugs that pull, tug and blow me in one direction to the next, helpless against their whims. Beneath me, is the dark abyss with the screams and cries of those individuals who succumbed to the madness of the storm. At times, the darkness is calm, and I just aimlessly drift, listless as time asses me by with no purpose, no life and no love. So, what does Paws for Life (PFL) mean to me? PFL is the LIGHTHOUSE that guides me to a safe shore from the madness and darkness of prison, and it continues to be a BEACON OF LIGHT that gives hope to prisoners. Paws Up!" - Tin

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"Paws for Life has enriched my life in countless ways. Being a caregiver for the dogs that come through our program has restored my sense of humanity, and self-worth by the healing powers of love, responsibility, empathy, compassion and duty. This unique experience has transformed my thinking and outlook on life." - Jessie R, dog trainer and service-dog-in-training Ernie.

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"For me, Paws for Life is family. We are diverse, have weird uncles and the whole nine yards. It’s great. It is everything prison should be while being everything that is usually is not. Throw in the dogs and it’s heaven. Family found!" - Duncan, dog trainer and adoptable dog Tony.

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"My dog Snowflake was my best friend. When I was sentenced with life without the possibility of parole, I knew that I would never see Snowflake again; She died while I was in prison. Brokenhearted and alone, I never thought I would have that connection again. Every time I get to work with a dog it is like I am reconnecting with Snowflake. I see a part of her in every one of the dogs that I help train. I am so blessed to be a part of this program." - Thomas, dog trainer and adoptable dog Jethro.

A Delicious Way To Donate

As you may know, Paws for Life K9 Rescue is our April Giving Back recipient. You can donate to them here, and you can also donate to them every time you buy our delicious SuperFood Nuggets Treats for Dogs this month.

The. month is almost over, so stock up now! Don’t forget 15% off your first order with code welcome15 at checkout.