Prison Pet Partnership offers second chance for inmates, dogs

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by CHRISTIE JOHNSON / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 5 at 10:46 AM

PURDY, Wash. - Hurley the retriever once sat on doggie death row but these days has been given a new leash on life. Hurley has found freedom at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, alongside Amy Weir, who is doing time for first degree murder.
 
In fact, 16 dogs call the prison home, all rescued from local shelters. Eleven inmate trainers teach them to be service animals and if they do not qualify for that program, they learn to be well mannered pets through the Prison Pet Partnership Program.
 
"We rehab as inmates and so do the dogs so that we both walk out of here better," said Cassie Scott, inmate at WCCW.
 
This is a program about second chances for both the dogs and the inmates.
 
"We're both working toward the same goal to have a better life" said Amy Weir, inmate at WCCW.
 
Inmates not only train the animals, they run a public grooming salon and a boarding facility teaching them valuable vocational skills.
 
"A lot of us want to do this as a profession," said Scott.
 
In prison, kindness can be considered weakness but these canine counselors are teaching inmates to feel again.
 
"When you're in prison you have to have certain boundaries and you get kind of hard after awhile and she's kind of broke that down for me," said Weir.
 
Giving inmates hope that they too will one day get a second chance.
 
"It feels good to be doing something good for once," said Weir.
 
For more information about the grooming and boarding available to the public visit  www.prisonpetpartnership.org

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