Friday, October 10, 2014

Pawsitive Dog prison training program
This lovely speech was shared by one of our inmate handlers today at our graduation ceremony. He shared it with me, so I can share it with you: "What the Dog Program Has Done For Me" "I've been incarcerated for over 4 decades - 41 years straight. The person that I started out doing this bid as, and the person I've
evolved into are not the same. I can honestly say that the many years or more have really changed my life and my view on the type of person I was and what I've changed into. And a lot of it has to do with this dog training program. Although seeing the first hands-on training, the responsibility of helping another life force that's basically no different than me in regards to the fact that they are fighting for a second chance, just like me!! My demeanor as a person has greatly turned for the better since my entering the dog handlers training program. Through the experience and studying, it's caused me to re-think my philosophies and attitudes toward animals and my fellow man. So I can say honestly that this program has been a big influence on the change in my life. I consider it an honor and a privilege to have been worthy of the chance to participate with smaller breeds of dogs. I plan to continue to work with dogs when I get released - which is in 22 days. I will close with a few words of wisdom. Criminality is a state of mind. A barred window through which we see the world. Change your frame of mind and everything changes. Not just the view of the world, but the one who views it. That is what the dog program has done for me. Power to the paw!!"

Friday, October 3, 2014

Guardian Angel Prison Dog Program

Mabel Bassett Correctional Center~ McLoud, OK 74851

Modeled after the first prison dog program started by Sister Pauline Quinn at a Washington state prison in 1981, the Guardian Angel K-9 Training Program at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center (“MBCC”) in McLoud, Oklahoma, got its start with three dogs in January 2014.

Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state, and most of those women were neglected and abused before they were locked up. The Guardian Angel K-9 Training Program pairs such women with rescued dogs that have also been neglected and/or abused, and the results have been remarkable. Ladies who were once affection-starved, distrustful, guarded, and vulnerable have become open, loving, and self-assured. Simply put, the program’s participants have blossomed like a rose.

What’s more, the Guardian Angel Program’s positive impact has spread to other inmates at MBCC. The program is located in the prison’s medical unit, where the most physically and mentally impaired inmates are housed. Program participants often take their dogs to visit with those women, and whereas there was once an overwhelming spirit of sadness and depression among them, those ladies actually smile and laugh out loud all because of the dogs’ love. It’s amazing!

As of October 2014, the Guardian Angel Program has grown to include seven dogs, seven trainers, and seven assistant handlers. The program has saved and changed the lives of many inmates and dogs alike.