The program allowing Fulton County prisoners in rehabilitation to train animals for adoption is working. In fact, it has been recognized nationally as one of many proven ideas that could save animals that would otherwise be eutha-nized. Canine Cellmates is a relatively new program which began in 2013. The organization aims to provide a better life for inmates in the Fulton County Jail and keep rescued shelter dogs from certain death. “During a four-month course consisting of education, training and overall care for the dogs, we hope to positively change both the dogs and the inmates,” said Susan Jacobs-Meadows, founding director and director of volunteer services. “Inmates who qualify are able to train two dogs, one after the other. At the end of the training course, our goal is for the dogs to pass the Ca-nine Good Citizen test and graduate from our program into a wonderful, forever home.” Jacobs-Meadows also said the inmates receive viable job skills which create a new “overall lease” on life for both the dogs and the inmates by offer-ing them a second chance. “Both groups have faced isolation and rejection by the outside world,” said Jacobs-Meadows. “… but when they come together, they give each other a new sense of hope, as they become the rescuer for one another.” It’s a perfect pairing, and the inmates also benefit from their accountability to the program.
Think about the number of animals that are given to shelters who appear “…too old, too temperamental or too sick” for anyone to adopt. The program helps bring these animals back into a regimented world of caring individuals.
“Our dogs go on to help children with diseases like Autism,” said Jacobs-Meadows. “These are children that have opened-up to the world because of our efforts. Canine Cellmates is a wonderful program.”
Visit http://www.caninecellmates.org/ to learn how the program works.