The Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor offers boarding, grooming, and training for dogs and cats.
Teresa Gaethe-Leonard, who works as a groomer and a trainer and is serving a 30-year sentence for murder, said, "It's a unique and different setting, but it really works for the animals."
The women inmates only make $1.41 an hour, but working with the dogs allows them to gain valuable skills which can be used to obtain a job upon their release. The non-profit organization is two tiered: pet care and grooming and a dog training program teaching basic obedience. Some well-trained dogs that graduate from the program even go on to be therapy dogs and service dogs/assistance dogs.
Angela Ferguson, another convicted murderer, says it leads to gainful employment:
"Would you want me to get a skill in prison and learn, you know, how to not live with domestic violence and learn to help people or would you not want me to get any help and come back into the community and be your neighbor?"
The mission of Prison Pet Partnership is to enrich the lives of inmates, homeless animals, and the community through the human-animal bond. It began in 1981 when a Dominican nun named Sister Pauline wanted to give back to her community through pet care training programs.
"I had a really difficult life and a dog helped change my life," Sister Pauline Quinn, a Dominican nun, told The News Tribune. "I wanted to give something back."
If you are interested in learning more about the Washington state pet partnership program, click here.
Would you send your pet to prison to be groomed? Let us know in the comments.
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