In America, we have an epidemic in animals shelters. The problem is there are more animals are being surrendered then being adopted. It’s a sad issue that each shelter must deal with. Many shelters deal with the problem by euthanizing dogs. One program is giving innocent dogs on death row a second chance at life.
“New Leash on Life” is a program that pairs shelter dogs with prisoners who are incarcerated. This program is very structured and teaches the prisoners how to interact and take care of the dogs. Each prisoner in the program gets a dog that he or she will treat and care for as their own.
Former prisoner and participant, Chris was in the program, explains the benefits for the dogs. “Most of the dogs are on death row, so they’ve been time stamped. They haven’t been adopted. They’ve been in a shelter for so long. And the shelter needs space. Unfortunately, that’s a fact of life.”
From the prisoners’ perspectives, they haven’t received much one on one interaction nor have they been able to give that kind of one on one attention to anyone. Now, enter the dogs. Chris calls it “a match made in heaven.”
Warden Bryant, the deputy of the Philadelphia Department of Prisons explains, “One of the things in jail, is that there isn’t a lot of touching in jail. I think the dogs provide contact. The guys can get on the floor. They can roll around with the dog. They can express emotions with the dog that they might not be able to express in jail.”
Being a pet owner is a great way to decrease stress. Dogs provide companionship, give unconditional love and listen to our deepest secrets. I can’t imagine that this would be a great addition to any prison system.