The Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection (RCACP) knows that pets have the remarkable ability to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improve our mood and bring us unconditional love. That’s why, with the help of a new $33,600 grant from PetSmart Charities, the organization is aiming to improve the quality of life for Roanoke Valley residents and homeless animals through an in?shelter inmate dog training program.
With this grant, RCACP will identify available dogs that need assistance with learning acceptable behavior skills and match them with an inmate trustee through the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office to learn those skills in the shelter environment.
The inmates, with the help of trainers provided by Angels of Assisi, will work with the dogs four days a week at the shelter to learn new skills and master the skills they are acquiring. The hope is that dogs that have an opportunity to complete this training will master basic obedience skills, such as leash walking, sit, stay, etc.
“We are very excited to begin our new K?9 training program for both the dogs and the inmate trainers,” said Michael Warner, Interim Executive Director of RCACP. “The goal is to present an animal that will be an acceptable companion to the public with basic obedience already in place and to reduce adoption returns. In addition, the program is an opportunity for the trustees to learn new job skills and the soft skills that are needed to succeed after incarceration. By participating in this program, the trustees receive positive validation from the dogs and trainers and provide a lasting service to the community. In addition, adopters will be exposed to what a difference professional obedience training makes in a dog and we are happy to have the trainers at Angels of Assisi provide that service. This is a true win?win situation for all involved and we very thankful that PetSmart Charities supported our vision.”
“We know the transformative power of pets and are committed to supporting programs that bring people and pets together,” said Sima Thakkar, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities. “Thanks to our generous donors across the nation, we are thrilled to support RCACP and this unique initiative that promotes the humananimal bond.”