This past Monday, a graduation ceremony was held at the Philadelphia Prison System for participants in the “New Leash on Life USA" training program. New Leash on Life USA is an organization that helps shelter dogs by pairing them up with inmates for training. The program lasts for 12 weeks. Here’s more from CBS Philly:
“These dogs have had very terrible past lives, and we want them to be in the right homes,” said Marchese.
One of them, Gouda, even has the personality and traits to become a service dog, for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
One of the trainers, Juan Bennett, who was matched up with Bleu, was dressed in street clothes, rather than an orange prison jumpsuit. He was released three weeks early, but asked to stay for three weeks to finish the program with his team. It wasn’t allowed, but he was applauded for the thought.
Another former inmate, Dwayne Marks, was Alumnus Guest Speaker.
“I’m a veterinary nurse, now,” Marks said.
He was part of a 2012 graduating class with rescue dogs from the city shelter, named after Phillies players; he had Shane.
Part of this year’s graduating class, inmate-trainer Kenneth Robinson, who spent time with Cheddar, thanked New Leash On Life for the opportunity to learn how to train and care for dogs.
“That’s exactly what this program is about. It’s about second chances,” Robinson said.
Thanks to New Leash on Life and its participants, many dogs now have great new homes. Click here for the full story and here to learn more about New Leash on Life USA. (Photos from their Facebook page via Kristina Hall Photography)