Further affirming the fact that dogs are, indeed, man's best friend, the Peninsula Humane Society/SPCA is on the cusp of completing its second successful year of an innovative program that pairs its special-needs shelter pups with inmates at a local jail.
Launched in 2009, TAILS (Transitioning Animals Into Loving Situations) matches dogs described as having "limited adoption potential" with minimum-security inmates at the Maple Street Correctional Facility in San Mateo. For eight weeks, the men in custody are responsible for the dogs' exercise, socialization, grooming and housetraining, complemented by an obedience trainer who leads a weekly class and monitors progress.
As the San Francisco Examiner reported, the relationship has proven mutually beneficial for both animal and inmate:
While the TAILS program focuses on preparing the dogs for adoption, the inmates also benefit from the human-dog bond, as they gain the confidence and skills needed to go on to other vocational training programs and future jobs. Two men have even adopted their dogs after being released from custody.
PHS/SPCA President Ken White took that sentiment a step further. "TAILS is a shining example of a win-win partnership between a private agency and local government," he told HuffPost. "It's actually a win-win-win, since the program benefits our shelter dogs, it gives inmates a chance to do something truly meaningful with their time and gives adopters wonderful dogs."
So far, 30 dogs and almost double the number of inmates have successfully completed the program.
Graduates of the most recent canine class are ready to find new homes. Take a look at their mug shots below. Interested adopters should call the PHS/SPCA at (650) 340-7522 x374 for more information.