Dogs are super powerful mood changers, uplifters, little helpers, condensed goodness.
And you know who these animals can help? People in prison, those searching for love and comfort in a system that barely acknowledges their humanity, that rarely does anything to rehabilitate those caught in the web of “corrections.” There are several programs that connect puppies with prisoners and I wanted to take a mini-moment to give a shout out to one: California’s Pawsitive Change Program, an initiative to save high-risk dogs from kill shelters.
Pawsitive pairs these high-risk dogs with behavioral and physical problems with incarcerated persons who spend a few weeks and months with the dogs to get them good and ready for adopting. The concept, like many dog/prison concepts, is to get humans and animals to save each other by learning and loving each other.
This final note is the major difference since we can actually see the changes occur as the program logs relationships, tracing when some pets come in and when some pets get adopted, all the while showing how happy and accomplished and valuable their incarcerated trainers are in their advancement. It’s the making of a late 2000s, post-Oscar Hillary Swank movie where a Malibu dog trainer’s pet is rescued by a thug-ish looking man thus inspiring said program: it’s like that but actually real and likely without the pandering “Rich white person with all the answers solves a problem.” sort of schtick.
I highly recommend you add Pawsitive Change Program to your Insta roster of dog profiles to follow since it offers that thing where your insides get all prickly and warm and your eyes get all moist. It’s uplifting and inspiring and just so damned sweet, as they say.
Also shout out to artist Tauba Auerbach for pointing this out. I’m obsessed with this little organization since she shared.