puppies for parolePuppies are giving a group of Missouri prisoners some new hope, and the puppies are getting a new chance at finding a loving home. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, the pooches were rescued from the streets, many of which were living in dangerous conditions before the Puppies for Parole program.

On March 19, inmates at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center waited as each of the stray dogs were brought into the room. The young pups will be living in the inmates’ cells and become a major part of their lives for the next three months. The inmates’ job is to train the pooches so they are well-suited for adoption.

This was the first time Stray Rescue of St. Louis participated in the Puppies for Parole program. The organization brought in seven dogs to the medium-security prison where they will learn basic obedience and socialization skills. If the dogs pass the program, they will receive a certification as “canine good citizens.”

The Puppies for Parole program has been incredibly successful in the past, and 2,000 dogs have been adopted through the program. Funded entirely by donations, the program greatly helps the inmates as well.

“The dogs have a remarkable impact on MDOC offenders, improving offender behavior and giving offenders incentive to maintain excellent conduct records. Offenders not directly involved in the program are showing responsibility and selflessness by donating to support our efforts. Staff morale is also enhanced by the presence of the dogs,” Director George A. Lombardi said, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections’ website.

Dogs Changing Lives in St. Louis

The puppies require the most patience and attention during the first few weeks they are living with the prisoners, as they can accustomed to their new surroundings. And even though it’s a lot of hard work for the prisoners, Warden Jennifer Sachse has witnessed the calming effects and joy the pooches bring into the prison.

Sachse recalls a time when an elderly inmate got pet one of the pups, which he hadn’t done in years. The experience brought tears to his eyes, and many others have similar reactions.

Chris Smith, 37, is paired with Ralph, a 2-year-old terrier and Boxer mix, and he enjoys the program because it’s a way to give back to the community. Another inmate, David Ross, 45, has had experience with the program in the past, and he told the publication that the adoption of Lila, the black Labrador he trained was bittersweet.

In the past, some of the dogs have been taken to area nursing homes, including Larry and Johnny who became permanent residents at Loch Haven Nursing Home. The pooches were trained through Puppies for Parole and aid the residents in case of emergency as well as simply providing them with a furry pal to play with.

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