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Kenai Correctional Center's dog adoption program benefits animals and inmates

Alaska Dispatch

Kenai's Wildwood Correctional Center has launched a program hoping to give abandoned dogs a second chance at adoption while helping inmates develop new skills through dog training, the Peninsula Clarion reports.

The pilot program is modeled after Hiland Mountain Correctional Center’s Special Pet Obedience Training Program in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, but on a far smaller scale.

Dogs are given to the minimum-security prison from the Kenai Animal Shelter. So far, there are two dogs at Wildwood, with a primary handler for each one. One dog, an Australian shepherd named Woody, has been adopted from the program.

The two inmates who live with the dogs care for the animals, and have noted the program's positive impact.

“Most people, when they grow up, they start learning about responsibility when they’re old enough to get their first job. Well, I took the easy way out and decided I didn’t want responsibility,” Inmate Rey Soto told the Clarion. “The program’s helped me understand that someday I’m going to get out, and it’s prepared me.”

Assistant Superintendent Shannon McCloud said that she is hopeful about future possibilities for the program, including the possibility of training therapy dogs in the future.

Read more at the Peninsula Clarion.