Archived Story

Tail-waggers train for new lives

Published 1:00am Friday, April 1, 2011

“Mother” is said to be the most-beautiful word in the English language. “Home” has to be a close second.

Sophie and Jake are about to graduate from the New Leash on Life program. (Submitted Photos)

Home: a house, a residence, a domicile, a habitat.

But a home is much more than that. It’s a place of love and acceptance, of warmth and compassion; where the welcome mat is always out and there’s a place to hang your hat. A home is filled with memories, family and friends.

However, two individuals that will be walking out of Craven Correctional Institute soon have no home to go to. These two individuals are not inmates being released; they are a pair of tail-wagging pets who will have completed the eight-week New Leash on Life program. They are dogs named Jake and Sophie.

Jake, a 2-year-old, neutered, catahula-mix male, and Sophie, a 2-year-old, spayed, boxer-mix female, will graduate from the NLOL program at the prison April 6, according to Sandy B. Woolard, chief animal-control officer for Beaufort County. This program serves communities by training dogs to be well-behaved pets. Before they went to the prison for training, they resided at the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility in Beaufort County.

NLOL allows state prisons to partner with local animal shelters and animal-welfare agencies to train dogs in preparation for adoption. The animals selected are placed with inmate trainers, who themselves have been trained to work with the dogs, teaching them basic obedience, house behavior and socialization.

These inmate trainers live in private accommodations and keep the animals with them at all times. The local Humane Society supplies food for the dogs.

The pets who graduate from the program know how to walk on-leash and off-leash and respond to basic commands. Not only do the dogs become more adoptable, but the inmate trainers learn a job skill and benefit from assisting in the animals’ rehabilitation.

This, according to Woolard, is a win-win situation for all involved, and Beaufort County is pleased to partner with Craven Correctional Institute. The county gets to send two dogs for each NLOL program held at the prison.

Jake, the mixed-breed dog, weighs about 55 pounds, is of mixed colors and up to date on all shots. He is on heartworm preventatives and heartworm-negative. Woolard terms Jake a nice dog that is smart and playful as well as full of energy.

Sophie, part boxer and approximately 32 pounds, is fawn-colored and up to date on all shots. She is on heartworm preventatives and heartworm-negative. Sophie is sweet, laid back, gentle and loving, according to Woolard.

If Jake or Sophie sound like your kind of tail-wagging pet, they’re completely up to date on all their animal needs, in perfect health and ready to travel following graduation April 6. The adoption fee is $125.

For an application to adopt either (or both) Jake and Sophie, or for more information, call 252-946-4517, or stop by the Betsey Bailey Nelson Animal Control Center, 3931 U.S. Highway 264 East, Washington.

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