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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Programs help people, pets

Saturday, November 17, 2012

For the very few that remain unsure about construction of our very own county shelter, I will offer excerpts from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Cathy Frye wrote about a little 10-pound rat-terrier mix. Her name is "Lily" and she just received a new home. She is a graduate of the Paws in Prison program and is the first dog trained by the state's prison inmates to be placed in a nursing home.

"At St. Micheal's home in Newport, she will be allowed to roam freely, seeking laps, pats and given her intense interest in the cake table -- very likely scraps of food. It's a far cry from her previous life as an unwanted stray. This dog could have been put down, noted Dina Tyler assistant director of public services for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Instead, she will now lead an extraordinary life where she is pampered, coddled and loved."

In December 2011, the Correction Department partnered with CARE for Animals -- a Central Arkansas rescue group -- to implement a program that places shelter dogs in prisons, where they are trained by inmates. All the animals come from shelters with high kill rates. After they are rescued, the dogs are assigned to inmate teams. Those teams then spend several months training their furry charges to be good family pets. Before the dogs can be adopted, they must earn their American Kennel Club Good Citizenship certifications.

The program is run entirely through donations. Realizing our shelter would probably not be able to do all the things that these larger shelters do, but we could have our inmates work toward socializing the animals and provide them with a chance of adoption instead of euthanasia. These larger prisons have dog trainers and assist the inmates in the training of the animals.

A trainer, Carrie Kessler has an animal-loving friend that has a friend that owns St. Michaels. Cathey writes, "After some discussion, the trio proposed placing Paws in Prison canine graduates in nursing homes. This, they thought, would be yet another way to make longterm-care facilities less institutional and more home-like, an initiative supported by the Arkansas Health Care Association."

And thus began Paws 4 Seniors. Now, ain't that a good one?

Presently we are working on and waiting for a lease to the land out near the prison that will be workable for the powers that be. If all the promises come through as stated, we are gonna gitter done!

As Jazz would say: "Your friendship helps me get over the rough spots in life."

Thought for the week: "Peace is seeing a sunset and knowing who to thank."

Shirley Connealy
Paws to Ponder
Connealy has been a longtime advocate for animal rights.
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