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“Changing Lives at Both Ends of the Leash”

WAGS stands for Working with Animals to Gain Socialization. This program was created through a partnership with Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution, which pairs teams of four inmates, who must apply for the program and meet qualifications, with a dog in need of extra training and/or socialization.

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how does it work?

Dogs typically spend 6 to 8 weeks in the program depending on their specific needs and training progress. The dogs learn basic obedience skills and commands. The trainers are responsible for feeding, walking, and cleaning up after the dogs 24/7 as well as making sure they get adequate exercise- often including 2 to 4 mile runs in the courtyard each day.

After the dogs graduate from the program they return to the shelter to find their forever homes. The program helps increase the adoptablity of the dog while allowing inmates the opportunity to give back to their community. Another benefit to the program is that many of the graduates are quickly adopted by staff members of PDCI who grow fond of each dog we send.

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Read about our first ever WAGS graduate, Ophelia here. A dog who suffered extreme neglect and cruelty learned to love and trust again, thanks to the program! She has since been adopted.

Executive director, Heather Hankins and Ophelia

Executive director, Heather Hankins and Ophelia

First WAGS graduate, Ophelia. | adopted 06/19/2017

First WAGS graduate, Ophelia. | adopted 06/19/2017