Is it possible for inmates and dogs to form a bond that has rehabilitative power on both sides? Each time people celebrate something, and fireworks go loud, there are animals who suffer. Unlike people, dogs are especially sensitive to loud noises, firecrackers especially. This year, Brevard County Sheriff, Wayne Ivey, reportedly received a lot of requests from residents to help out at the local animal shelter. They had an idea to allow the inmates from the county jail to comfort the homeless dogs. An idea truly altruistic and generous.
When Society Thinks of Its Weakest Links
The above story struck us because it has love in its core. The fact that people gathered and raised their voices in protection of animals is admiring. Even more so, the fact that they thought about the benefits both dogs and inmates can have if they form a bond is amazing. This truly shows the philanthropic reasoning and character of one society.
We heard of many stories where dogs helped people to find their way back and assimilate with the society. However, we were primarily touched when we realized that dogs who participate in programs of training with inmates, also have tough backgrounds. The idea that crossed our mind was:” Jees, they must be identifying and learning trust and compassion all over again.”
Paws and Hands on The Same Task
On one hand, there are dogs that were saved from abuse or dog-fighting, for example. On the other, there are inmates who have been carefully chosen to enter programs of training dogs. Apparently, no person who has criminal record of animal abuse or violent crimes can come into contact with these dogs.
Assimilation is the goal for both species. The men learn how to train dogs and expectedly get attached to them. By learning patience to deal with dogs, men learn how to build a character and how to control themselves. Additionally, by spending time together, men and dogs develop their emotional capacity as well.
Therefore, we have love, again, at the center of this relationship. Most of the inmates reportedly come from broken homes. Their previous experience has taught them to withdraw when it comes to expressing positive emotions. When confronted with dogs, they come to realize that someone else’s survival depends on them. Therefore, in order to pull it through, they need to dig a bit deeper than usual to find that emotion and express it. Once the love is sent, the feedback is inevitable.
It is also possible that some men identify with dogs coming from questionable backgrounds. As in relationships between humans, this could also be the pre-requisite for forming a deeper bond based on mutual trust and understanding. Lastly, they go through the healing process together. Nevertheless, apart from healing, the experience also teaches them to interact and to communicate constructively, as opposed to abuse and social exclusion which they experienced. It also develops team spirit and prepares a man for teamwork, once he leaves the facility.
Admirably, the number of people who stay in contact with animals on daily basis after leaving prison is on the rise. Many learn how to improve their skills and become technicians at the vet’s offices, for example or work in shelters.
Inmates who went through this type of program are able to show empathy. This is extremely important when it comes to human interaction. It is the line which divides someone s psyche from the pathological one.
Moreover, training and bonding with dogs can teach a man to be more responsible and caring. Learning about the obligations we have in life and how to handle them need to have a starting point. In this case, that point is the time they spend together behind bars. Subsequently, something good comes out of the prison.
As for dogs, well, they make an incredible transition from completely marginalized creatures to the loving companions who save lives. We simply need to love them.
Any interesting experiences with dogs from your side?