From The Doghouse To The Big House: A New Leash On Life

Prisoners and Pomeranians

BAYBORO - Inmates at a Pamlico County Prison are getting a "New Leash On Life." Pamlico Corrections Institution has teamed up with Pamlico Animal Welfare Society to give rescued dogs a second shot at a happy life.

Inmates at the prison train dogs to be members of a family, using simple obedience training, and socialization.

"We provide the dogs, they do the training. When the training is over, we find homes for them," Jackie Schmidt said, President of the Pamlico Animal Welfare Society. "Some of them have come from abusive situations so the trainers have to work extra hard to regain their trust."

However, for inmates it's a valuable opportunity for companionship, and a chance to have responsibility, in otherwise dark times.

"This is the first time I've had to think about and care for somebody or something other than myself my whole life," Gary Goldman said, lead trainer of the dogs.

Goldman has worked with dogs at a prison in Craven County since 2005, but is now ushering in a new era for dogs in Pamlico County. This is the first year for the program in the county.

Goldman said the training dogs receive at the prison should prepare them for anything.

"Of course, in here, there's so much chaos. You've got hundreds of people doors, slamming, fire alarms going off," Goldman said. "When they get to their new homes, they will never see anything like this again for the rest of their lives."

The dogs also provide much needed peace for the inmates.

"I had one guy come up to me and ask to pet the dog and I said sure, and he thanked me afterwards. He said, 'That's the first time I've pet a dog in 10 years,'" Goldman said.

Most Popular