(CNN) – Those of us who have dogs know what this moment feels like. “It was an emotional homecoming it was great to see.” A “homecoming” because Hershey returned to the man who trained her. Richie just happens to live for now behind bars
Sheriff Lew Evangelidis of Worcester County launched a program a year ago called “Project Good Dog.” Inmates from his work release program have been taught to train dogs that are considered at first, un-adoptable. They work with a local animal shelter called “Second Chance Why Inmates?”
Lindsay Doray of Second Chance Shelter said, “What’s the one thing they have that we don’t? Time. There here, they got the time, they can put in the effort that most don’t have in day to day life.”
Richie, an inmate said, “High five, double tap, in your crate, come on.”
The dogs actually live “in” the cells “with” the inmates for several weeks
As you can imagine things can get pretty tenses here on cell block esp during summer months but sheriff says once they bring the dogs here you can feel the atmosphere among inmates really change.
Sheriff Lew Evangelidis said, “Changes the stress in the entire facility officers tell me stress dropped dramatically dogs have way of being adopted by entire block and because of that its safer environment.”
Friday, on the one year anniversary of the program, some of the 20 dogs adopted came back with their new owners.
Jonathan and Ann Marie welcomed Walter
Marie LaPierre, said “The programs phenomenal it’s just amazing to me what they come in with and what they leave with.”
And what do the inmates get out of it?
Roger, an inmate said, “I’ve been here few years to come here handle dogs that come from not good situations and help them reconnect with people and open up.”
Animals and men both behinds bars at some point in their lives both yearning for freedom.