Little Angels Prison Program
Little Angels is so incredibly proud and excited to have a major prison program as a part of our dog production process. Our PUPS (Puppies Uplifting Prisoner’s Spirits) Program now includes three different facilities – two on the West Coast and one on the East Coast. On the West Coast we are lucky to have a large group of dogs in both Avenal State Prison and Central California’s Women Facility. In Maine we have now started a new program with Bolduc Correctional Facility. We have found our dogs have a profound effect on every inmate that works with them, and we are proud to be able to offer that rehabilitation.
CCWF was our first facility adventure, and we couldn’t think of a better spot to start out our PUPS Program! They took to our training incredibly fast, and we never have a doubt that our dogs are being well taken care of. All it takes is one trip into the facility to see how much each inmate cares for their dog in training, and how invested they are in seeing this dog through to graduation. We are so proud of the dogs that have exited CCWF and have gone on to be placed with recipients in need.
Avenal State Prison was our second facility entered and gave us male inmates to work with. This was very important to us since our other facility was female only. It is very important to our training process that dogs get acclimated to working with both genders. Having two facilities in a similar location has allowed us to rotate dogs around through their stint in prison so they are able to experience many different situations. Our men in Avenal do a phenomenal job of having a structured routine and training our dogs to be extremely obedient. We love going in to work with them and teach them new skills!
Our most recent acquisition into our prison program is Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren, Maine. This was a crucial addition because it allowed us to increase our East Coast Capacity for dogs in training. The special part about this facility is it’s a non-secure transitional program. This means each inmate is learning to integrate back into society, and while they are integrating into society, so will our dogs! The inmates in Bolduc frequently take trips to common places like Walmart, grocery stores, and walks downtown. We think it is amazing that our dogs will be in a mutually beneficial relationship with each inmate, while they assist each other in learning how to navigate the public scene.
We are so thankful for the relationship we have with each of our correctional facilities. Our program would not be able to succeed on the level it is, without the help of each of these facilities, and the staff and inmates within. Our inmates are able to train our dogs to a capacity that none of us would ever be capable of. The care, attention to detail, and effort they put into each dog is inspiring. We also love to hear the stories from inmates about how each of these dogs have touched their lives and given them a purpose each day. One of our favorite parts of the program is telling our recipients about the inmates that had a role in their dog’s training, and seeing their extreme gratitude towards that person. We look forward to continuing to expand this program and be able to involve as many facilities as possible in our mission. If you too are touched by what we do with these inmates and would like to get involved, check out the different options below!
Though our prison program is incredibly efficient and creates a wonderful environment for our dogs to be raised in, there is one aspect of training that the dogs cannot receive while living with the inmates. One of the most important parts of a service dog’s training is their public socialization. While living in a prison, the dogs get to experience many different sights and sounds; but not those that they will likely be seeing with their recipients. Therefore, we need the help of prison fosters to assist us in properly socializing our dogs staying in prison. There are many ways families can help in being a prison foster!
The classic prison foster will sign up to take dogs out of the prison, for either a weekend or an extended portion of time. They will attend a training orientation to learn Little Angels’ standards for fosters, and understand how to handle the dogs in public. Once they receive a dog they will focus on getting that dog into a multitude of different social settings and report back to the prison program manager.
A TLC prison foster will be on call to take a dog in for a while after they have a medical or social within the prison. Though our inmates take wonderful care of our dogs, certain injuries or situations are better tended to in a home environment. As a TLC foster, our prison program manager would be in touch with you after one of our dogs have had a medical incident or needs a break from prison for a while. This could be an injury that required attention from a vet, like a neuter, or a situation where the dog has become nervous in the facility and needs a family to help build their confidence for a while. The manager would set up a pick up and drop off time for you.
Our fosters are so incredibly important to us. We appreciate their time so much. Anyone that fosters for us receives everything necessary. Along with the dog, you will get a crate, food bowl, leash, training collars, toy and food. All fosters are required to go through a video home inspection and a training orientation to ensure our dogs are getting the best care possible. If you are interested in fostering, please fill out the form to the left! We can’t thank you enough!
If you can’t foster a dog but would like to support the prison program, consider going to our donate page and selecting the prison program option so that your funds go directly to our prison facilities. Thank you so much for your continued support! You are helping us change lives!!