As a dog lover and a life-long supporter of all rescue animals this story truly touched my heart. The beautiful work being done by the T.A.I.L.S (Teaching Animals & Inmates Life Skills) program is a reminder that PEACE realized through trust, encouragement, and the belief in the power of change can not only save lives but change the world.
Matches Made in Heaven (and Jail): Look at the Troubled Dogs Saved From Euthanasia by Doting Inmates
By Ryan Morris / Good News Network
Photos By Adam Goldberg / AGold Photo
In Florida, this program is pairing abused dogs with incarcerated men – and it is offering hope and promising futures for both.
The TAILS, or Teaching Animals and Inmate Life Skills program, focuses their rehabilitation efforts on dogs plagued by abusive backgrounds. Since their behavioral issues keep the pups from being adopted, they are at risk of euthanization if they aren’t properly trained.
Each dog is cared for by two inmates, one trainer, and one handler. The inmates are responsible for engaging the dogs with training exercises, play, and plenty of affection. The program lasts two to three months, and is recognized by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, which offers inmates considerable work-related experience.
What is perhaps even more significant than the qualifications that the inmates receive from the program is the sensation of receiving unconditional love – one that is foreign to many of the convicts.
Similarly to the dogs they train, these prisoners have seldom known the luxury of a supportive environment, and for many, the relationships they form with the dogs are the first to offer them empathy, affection, and love.
Adam Goldberg, a photographer who was recently granted permission to observe and photograph the training process inside the prison, told Good News Network: “Seeing the inmates in their living quarters, with the rescue dogs, was an amazing experience. The dogs were so well cared for and so attentive to their inmate handler and trainer.”
Over the course of the last three years, TAILS has saved over 500 dogs with their unique training method, and they are continuing to seek out new rescues who can have pawsitive impacts on their human counterparts.
“It was very evident that the dogs rely on the inmates just as much as the inmates rely on the dogs,” Goldberg added.