Prison Adopts Puppies for Good Behavior

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HUNLOCK TOWNSHIP -- A state prison in Luzerne County has adopted some furry friends to try to improve the behavior of inmates.

At the medium security state prison near Shickshinny, inmates at SCI Retreat will be serving time with a little bit of hope and joy.

"Hope" and "Joy" are the two border collie/boxer puppies, each only 6 months old.

The state prison adopted them from Ruff Dog Rescue of Susquehanna County.

Owner Tere Morris remembers getting the call.

"At first, you're like, 'Wow, where are they going to sleep?' The good thing is you know they could never run away!"

Four inmates are tasked with taking care of the dogs as part of a new program to improve the quality of life in the facility.

The dogs sleep in their cells, are fed there, and have to be taken out for bathroom breaks.

Many of the inmates have a helping hand in training them.

Officials say the dogs aren't the only ones who were rescued. For many of the inmates, it's like having a new "leash" on life. The dogs provide the inmates with a sense of normalcy and comfort.

"You can see the dogs enjoy the company of the inmates and the staff, but particularly with the inmates, their demeanor has improved greatly and their interactions with staff. It's been just remarkable," said deputy superintendent Lloyd Kerschner.

"A lot of people are happy to see them walking around, and every time they stop, someone tries to pet them and play with them," said an inmate.

These dogs aren't just any dogs. They are geese-chasing dogs. Geese used to roam around the grounds of the prison, but the dogs have since chased them away towards the river. The geese may be the only ones at the prison who wouldn't want Hope or Joy around.

4 comments

    • Ruff Dog Rescue NE (@RDRNE)

      hi- DERPP. actually the dogs have frequent access to outside runs and outside time. they have regularly scheduled play time, training time and a large staff plus the inmates who all spend time interacting them. in fact, they probably spend less time alone than most our own dogs.

      the inmates who are closely working with them went through a very critical selection process and training regime in order to be able to participate in this program. the pups have no concept of prison, to them it’s a large play area, with over 1500 people who interact with them everyday.

      we care about our dogs, and rigorously vetted this program before we agreed to participate. (-kim, rdrne volunteer)

  • Amanda

    Love the idea great for inmate and great for puppies to not liveing in pound and having human interaction. It’s win win!

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