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I have been looking at puppies and dogs for years, wanting to get a second dog to keep Bubba company and to ease us into the idea that he won't be with us forever. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't bring myself to bring home a dog from the pound, not knowing much of a history on it. Bubba is very spoiled and can be playful, but also a bit jealous. I couldn't control a dog that would fight with him.

Eventually, we found a program called "Project Pooch" at the Boy's Correctional Facility in our state. When minors go to prison, they go there. This isn't the detention center, this is the jail for those who have been convicted of serious felony crimes. They have to go to high school and get treatment. When they graduate high school, they have to have a job. Sometimes they move back into society, but sometimes they move on to adult prison if they were tried and sentenced as adults.

Project Pooch allows boys who have graduated high school to work with dogs to train them to become what the AKC calls "Canine Good Citizens" or CGCs. The dogs need to learn to sit, stay, come, socialize with people and other dogs, etc.

Two weekends ago, we went to the facility to meet some dogs, after having filled out an application about us and why we wanted a dog and the amount of time that we would spend with her, etc. We met 8 boys and their dogs, and it was really quite touching. You could tell that some of the boys had never had the opportunity to make any sort of presentation to an adult before. There was one young man whose dog wanted to chase after squirrels, and I knew he was very disappointed that his dog didn't make a perfect impression on us. I told him not to worry, that my dog would do the same thing, and I know that he can work on it with his dog. That situation sticks out in my mind still. I wrote the boys a note telling them thank you for introducing us to their dogs, and that they could be proud of themselves for working with the dogs and the progress that they are making in their own lives. I don't care what you say, boys are boys, no matter what awful thing they have done in their lives, they want the opportunity to better themselves when they can get away from the bad influences.

Mandy was the dog that we chose. She is here for a "foster" visit right now.

She is so full of energy! And she is such a sweetheart! Bubba is a little jealous, and we are working on getting the two of them to play together. Bubba likes to growl at her, and she gets down on her front haunches and teases him until he chases her around he yard. It's not really 'play' yet, but it's not fighting, either!

So, we have her until at least Wednesday. I think she will work out. She's such a little optimistic doll! But so much energy!
That's a pretty fantastic program! How cool for those boys to have something like that to aspire to.

I hope Mandy works out, and Bubba can learn to live with her.


New Member
The program you mentioned sounds great. I wish they'd incorporate something like that for boys who aren't in trouble already, maybe they wouldn't be as likely to get in trouble. But it's still great, none the less.

We just got a new puppy, too! Our dog loooves other dogs, so the addition of the new puppy has been great. My kids kept freaking out thinking our dog was being mean to the puppy, but it was the puppy who was attacking our dog! All in play.

Have fun with the new pup! They eat A LOT! :smile:


Well-Known Member
Witz, Mandy is beautiful! Sounds like she's going to work out just fine! And what a wonderful program! I have never heard of it being done in a juvenile institution but it sounds like it helps the boys as much as it does the dogs. Very good idea.

They have a similar program at the Tennessee Prison for Women. Six to eight of the inmates become the one-on-one caretakers and trainers for shelter dogs that would otherwise be "unadoptable". These are dogs that have had no training at all and have had no proper socialization with people - the ones that no one wants. When they "graduate", the dogs are adopted out to carefully selected families and have a chance at a whole new life.

At the institution that I work in, we have a huge, gorgeous shiny black Lab that has been trained as a drug detection dog. He and his handler go to several other institutions as well to do shakedowns, etc. He's REALLY good too! They've spent thousands on this dog - months and months of special training, he has his own vehicle with auxilliary A/C and alarm systems (he lets his handler do the driving!), and TWO nice big dog houses and pens at the institution. He goes home with his handler at night and plays with his kids. He's pretty much treated like royalty! And the very best part - he came straight out of an animal shelter!


New Member
That's great supporting such a good program!
I hope Bubba does well. I know Dalmatians can be a handful. He'll probably miss her when she's gone!!


Active Member
Mandy is adorable.....hope she is a good fit for your family.

Those dog and inmate programs are phenomenal! I saw a doctor about it on Animal Planet, and cried all the way through! LOL


(the future) MRS. GERE
What a sweet face, Witz. My Chloe adores her older sisters and she has really helped perk them up. I hope Mandy and Bubba are buddies in no time.


Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Mandy is a beautiful dog (looks a lot like our Ella). I hope she is a great fit for your family. That was really nice of you to take the time to write thank you notes to the boys. I don't think many people would take the time to do that.


What an adorable dog. Glad Bubba and Mandy hit it off. When I brought home the puppy, chloe wouldn't even WALK near her for 3 weeks. Forgot how much energy pups have.

Sounds like a really positive program. Wish they had more programs like that. sounds like it can really boost the self esteem of these young men. All that hard work, and seeing it pay off.

How nice for you to send thank you notes. I am sure these kids work hard with the dogs. Nice to be acknowledged.

Hope Mandy works out. She is georgeous.


Active Member
Sounds like a really great program. I hope it works out for you all and Bubba can accept her and still feel secure.

I'd love a dog or cat, but for various reasons we can't have one. husband grew up with cats, and we had both on our farm when I was a kid.


Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I'm so glad you found the program. I just found out that Ohio has at least one, and the prison isn't that far from us. Might be where I go to adopt a new dog after mine have gone on to doggie heaven. (if the program is still there)

I also saw a doctor on this on the animal channel. I thought it was about time they came up with something that actually helps the immates, and the dogs benefit too.

It was so thoughtful of you to write the boys notes. I'm sure it made them proud that someone recognized the hard work they put into the dogs and that they'd done a good job.

Mandy is beautiful. Sounds like she's going to fit right in. :grin:

Our dog Molly wouldn't play with Betsy for months. (and Betsy was born into the family) Now you can't seperate the two! They adore each other. (Betsy always did look up to Molly, sort of like hero worship lol) They play and give doggie kisses. And Molly will go with Betsy when she gets out of the yard to herd her home again so she won't get lost. Something she's never done for another dog. lmao