A few lucky prisoners at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, Kentucky are part of a unique program which places former stray dogs from the local The Humane Society with inmates for care and training. 12 dogs are placed with a hand selected group of 14 inmates who must go through a rigorous application process before joining the team. Each inmate is matched with a dog, living together 24 hours a day within the prison compound. There is also an inmate who serves as the clerk and another who is the janitor for the program. There are regular training classes for these inmates geared to preparing each dog for adoption with an outside family. The average stay for a dog is between 4 to 8 weeks depending on specific needs and challenges.
There are several prisoners serving life sentences and a few almost ready for release within the Camp Canine program which is completely housed within the confines of the prison compound. One inmate, who will be released shortly, has already secured work with an outside veterinarian clinic. "I am really looking forward to continuing my work with dogs. This program has meant so much to me and it makes me feel really great that I can help dogs that might have faced euthanasia." said this inmate who will be released in four months. He had worked with over 150 dogs while in the program. One of the newest team members said he tried really hard not to get too attached to his first dog but with his second dog he is really connected and knows it will be hard to let him go. "I know my dog is going to a really good life with a loving family so it's worth it but it's going to be hard to say goodbye."
Sherry Taylor runs the unit as a senior correctional employee. She has been working within the correctional system for 20 years serving in many different capacities. She explained that the Camp Canine inmates are very lucky to have this opportunity. They get several perks like having single rooms where all other inmates at the prison share rooms. "It really helps all the inmates in the general population when these dogs are around not just the inmates in the program." Many of these dogs are certified as "companion animals" once they leave the program which make them extremely desirable dogs. There have been many placements made around the country and when possible families interested in a specific dog will come to the prison facility to meet that dog and their trainer.
Greyhound Friends Inc. in Hopkinton, Massachusetts is one of the Shelters that has been working to place dogs from the Camp Canine Program. They have more information as well as dogs from the program available in their Hopkinton Shelter. Interested people can call (508) 435-5969 for more information. Or contact Jennifer Watkins at the Shamrock Greyhound Rescue in Kentucky by emailing email@example.com. The Camp Canine program, through the local Human Society, welcomes any contributions to assist with the daily needs of these rescued dogs. Please contact Sherry Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to make a donation