Inmates make difference with new best friends

January 9, 2013 3:51:08 PM PST
The Curran-Fromhold Correctional Center in Northeast Philadelphia has been the site of a new program to give inmates a chance to really make a difference and to make a new best friend.

The Philadelphia Prison inmates received certificates Wednesday for a new skill - dog training.

They are part of the New Leash on Life program where inmates are paired with at risk dogs.

They train the canines so they can be adopted.

"The day were going to get him, he was going to be euthanized. He was going to be put to death. This is a big accomplishment for me," inmate Joseph Davis said.

Davis and his fellow inmate Gabriel Seda have been training a dog named Mike for 11 weeks.

"Showed me how to be more consistent, preparing for the outside world. It was a pleasure working with this dog," Seda said.

Mike is being adopted by Main Line Deputy Dog, a non-profit organization that trains dogs to service the disabled.

With the help of these inmates, Mike is ready for further training.

"Mike is going to be paired with a lady with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and he's going to be trained to give her confidence in the outside world," Mark Steiber of Main Line Deputy Dog said.

Among the canine graduates was Peanut Chew. He was found in a North Philadelphia basement malnourished. After being in the program for 8 weeks, he is now ready for adoption.

"They are ready to go home. They have all their basic obedience. They've completed their program within 11 weeks. They are certified and have their Canine Good Citizen certificates," Norberto Rosa of New Leash on Life said. These dogs and inmates have been inseparable for months.

Today, they will part ways. But each are now changed for the better.

"I'm feeling a little bit sad, but I'm so proud of [Mike] because he's accomplished a lot,"Seda said.