even our deaf dogs!
Another day yesterday where my creative juices had evaporated; if that’s what creative juices do!
But that doesn’t devalue the following article in the slightest! An article that was recently read on the Care2 blogsite and is republished here for your pleasure.
Prisoners Care for Deaf Dogs Displaced by Wildfire
By: Laura Goldman August 3, 2016
The so-called Sand Fire that burned for over a week near Los Angeles didn’t only threaten wildlife sanctuaries. Soon after the wildfire started on July 22, Mark and Lisa Tipton, owners of Deaf Dog Rescue of America (DDRA), a non-profit organization that rescues, trains and rehomes hearing-impaired dogs, decided it was better to be safe than sorry. They evacuated the rescue ranch’s nearly 50 residents.
“It was no small feat to assemble crates, pack them into trucks and trailers, and load the dogs,” Lisa wrote on the DDRA Facebook page. “Backbreaking and stressful. We have wonderful paid kennel staff here which is why we were able to evacuate the dogs so smoothly. Nobody got bitten, no loose dogs, no drugs were used. They stayed with us in our time of need and they were rock stars.”
The Tiptons were eventually able to find a temporary home for the dogs at the California state prison in Lancaster, which invited them to bring the dogs there. Mark happens to operate the Karma Rescue Paws for Life dog-training program for the prison’s inmates. It is California’s first and only dog program in a high-security prison. Many of the participants are serving life sentences.
In this program, dogs rescued from high-kill shelters around Los Angeles County live full-time with the participating inmates. Over a 12-week period, the inmates learn how to train the dogs for Canine Good Citizen certification. This certification helps the dogs become more adoptable and, in turn, helps save more dogs from shelters. The inmates benefit by learning real-world skills and giving back to society by helping these dogs get another chance at life.
“Paws for Life restored my faith in humanity that I’m a person, that I matter,” inmate trainer Jon Grobman told KABC. “It gave me the opportunity to care for something, love something.”
In the two years the program has been offered at the Lancaster prison, 75 former death-row dogs have found forever homes.
‘They Were Thriving Under Their Care’
“The dogs were bewildered and watched us walk out the gates,” Lisa wrote on Facebook. “The looks on their faces made me cry when things quieted down and I had time to think about it. I have to admit that I felt guilty leaving them there.”
The couple returned to the prison the next morning with food for the dogs – which, along with the feelings of guilt, wasn’t necessary.
“The inmates had handled breakfast beautifully,” Lisa wrote. “They were getting the dogs out for exercise and cleaning their runs… I have never, ever seen anyone clean up dog poop with such glee.”
Nor had she ever seen the dogs so comfortable around strangers. “[They] were thriving under their care,” Lisa wrote, “and had wagging tales and smiles on their faces.”
Thankfully, DDRA survived the Sand Fire. All the dogs returned to their home July 30.
“Can pretty much guarantee that when they are all safely in their kennels snoring,” Lisa wrote, “I’m going to melt into a huge puddle of tears from sheer thankfulness and relief.”
For more information about the rescue, visit the Deaf Dog Rescue of America website.
L.A. Detention Center May Get an Animal Shelter
Coincidentally, while the inmates at the Lancaster prison were caring for the displaced deaf dogs, L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich proposed that, to help with overcrowding in animal shelters, a new one should be built at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic.
In his proposal, Antonovich cited successful prison programs similar to Lancaster’s Paws for Life.
“Such a program could be a cost-effective and progressive way to integrate the needed care of animals with positive benefits to our inmates,” he wrote.
The feasibility of such a shelter is being analyzed by county animal welfare officials and the sheriff’s department. A report on their findings is expected later this month.
Photo credit: YouTube
While one reads such accounts of how dogs are loved there’s a part of me that remains optimistic about the future.