The new year has just started and already the California Correctional Center and Lassen Humane Society are celebrating the adoption of their 500th dog named Lucy from the Pups on Parole program and Lassen County Animal Shelter. The success of this program has benefited the community, inmates and dogs. Inmates in the program share that the program gives them a sense of purpose, pride and duty by giving them the opportunity to participate in the daily responsibilities of caring for, socializing and training the dogs.
The Pups on Parole program began at CCC in 2007 when Lassen Humane Society President Mary Morphis and CCC Warden Kathy Prosper collaborated to initiate the program. Warden Prosper was enthusiastic to be involved in the program at the institution, ensuring a stable foundation for a successful operation from the very start.
Morphis was very passionate about saving dogs housed in overcrowded shelters. She had witnessed many beautiful dogs euthanized and determined she would save the lives of as many dogs as she could.
After touring the POP program at San Quentin State Prison, Morphis and Warden Prosper quickly developed a similar program at CCC.
The Pups on Parole program is comprised of many entities including the Lassen Humane Society, Lassen County Animal Shelter and CCC staff and inmates. Lassen County Animal Shelter receives dogs and determines their suitability for the Pups on Parole program based on their temperament, character and potential to be euthanized; this is a crucial part of the process, ensuring the success of the program.
Lassen Humane Society oversees the Pups on Parole program and Coordinator Vicky Reinsel both ensures the program is functioning well and addresses any concerns that arise. Reinsel takes great pride in the success rate of the Pups on Parole dogs adopted into good homes and spends her free time conducting fund raisers for food and other supplies for the dogs. Pup on Parole’s Liaison Rikki Meier supervises inmates while they train the dogs in preparation for adoption. Rikki was so inspired by the program that she commissioned a dog training agility course at CCC.
Fifteen Inmates and seven dogs are currently housed at the CCC Firehouse, with one handler each and a backup handler for unexpected absences.
The inmates have completed Physical Fitness Training, Fire Fighter Training and retain fire-fighting duties by providing mutual aid to Lassen County Fire and Medical Emergency Services.
For many inmates, this program teaches how to be responsible for another’s needs and provides a sense of accomplishment when the dogs are successfully rehabilitated, well-trained and adoptable.
Lucy is the 500th lucky dog to be adopted from the program. Upon her introduction into the program, Lucy met her handler, inmate Hall. Inmate Hall was a first-time trainer, and he and Lucy soon built a strong inseparable bond. Lucy’s personality and the bond between the two were so remarkable; inmate Hall’s parents decided to adopted Lucy to be sure she would be reunited with him upon his release.