North Idaho

Pawsitive Dogs making positive changes at Airway Heights Corrections Center

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, - "Pawsitive Dogs," a partnership between the Airway Heights Corrections Center and Spokanimal that has inmates fostering and training dogs looking for a home, is making a big difference at the institution.

The program has been at AHCC for just over a year and has been a huge success for the prison, Spokanimal and the inmates.

"This is my second dog," inmate Daniel Neace said. "The relationship is pretty cool, I mean its nice to have the dog in the house, its entertaining, you grow attached to them, that's for sure."

Pawsitive Dogs making positive changes at Airway Heights Corrections Center

Neace looks after Sally.

"We spend hours and hours working with the dog, I mean we work with them all day you know, we're with them 24-7," he added.

Trainers from Spokanimal come to the prison to teach positive reinforcement training

"It provides a service for our shelter dogs to receive training [and] make them more adoptable," Kim Imel with Spokanimal said.

Now, thanks to a purchase program through the food service department at the prison, the inmates are doing even more for Spokanimal. They just donated close to $1,000 to the program.

"Now we have this money for the dog program, which is just an awesome thing, everybody wins they give back to the community, they get something in return and the dogs make out big time," Mark Murphy with Airway Heights Corrections Center said.

"The inmates don't have a lot and so for them to choose for us to receive these funds is huge," Imel said.

Spending time with the dogs, who are also looking for a second chance, can be tough for the inmates. When the dogs are trained and graduate they move on to a new home outside the walls of AHCC.

"It's a bittersweet moment for them," Richard Hewson said. "We have had offenders show a great deal of emotion."

"You grow attached to them and then when it is time for them to go you definitely get homesick about it, you just hope that they go to a good house, most of them I am sure go to great houses," Neace said.