Nine healthy and lovable dogs are graduating from the Calhoun Correctional Institution. For the past ten weeks inmates have worked with the dogs 24/7 and given them unconditional love and training, but these dogs haven't always had a pampered life. When the dogs arrived at the institution they were traumatized and considered unadoptable.
The dogs were recovered from a hoarding situation. In the recovery effort 98 dogs were rescued and nine were brought to the Calhoun Workshop Alaqua's Unconditional Love Program. The animals feared humans and had little to no hope of a loving future. Fast-forward to Wednesdays graduation ceremony, you could never tell the animals were without love. The Unconditional Love Program works to give animals a second chance and in return the dogs give far more to prisoners. First inmates apply for the program and must have no record of animal abuse. Once accepted they are given jobs and over time they are able to work up the program rankings; from caretaker, to trainer, and even head trainer overseeing multiple teams. Dogs are taught to trust humans and then train them to sit, stay and roll over.
The program ranges from 8-12 weeks and once they pass the K9 Good Citizen Test they can be adopted. According to inmate, Jerry Jones, the program gives the dogs a new life and forever changes the inmates, "The Unconditional Love Program has given me hope, opportunity and clarity of purpose in transforming my transgressions. Unlike us inmates, these dogs did nothing wrong to bring upon suffering they have had to endure in their lives, these dogs are victims of neglect, abuse and hate."
Jones hopes once he completes his sentence to open a dog grooming, dog daycare or dog walking business.
If you would like to learn more about the program or adopt any of the dogs you can call Alaqua at 850-880-6399 or email info@AlaquaAnimalRefuge.org.