Michigan prison teams up with dog rescue group to rehabilitate dogs

(WXYZ) - A Michigan prison has teamed up with a dog rescue group to help rehabilitate dogs and find them their forever home. 

10 years ago the Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan (RPSM) teamed up with the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater to help give dogs a second chance. 

Inmates are specially trained dog handlers.

Every 10 weeks they're assigned to a dog that came from a bad shelter or owner. 

They're trained and cared for around the clock.

So far 1,000 dogs have been adopted through the program. 

"Seeing the dog you pulled from the shelter come in here one way and coming out is awesome," said Tamiko Rehagen with RPSM.

Dogs have even learned how to read commands.

“A few weeks ago I passed a guy in a wheelchair and I brought the dog up to him and he pet the dog and he thanked me because it was the first time he'd touched a dog in 30 years and he was just in tears," says dog handler Roger Ruthruff.

At the end of the course dogs are tested on what they've learned. Making sure dogs know how to act around strangers and other dogs is a priority.

If they pass, they're put up for adoption. 

"I can honestly say these dogs have taught me way more than I've taught them," says dog handler Nolan Hall.

"It carries into others and others pick up that positive behavior," says Patrick Daniels with the prison. To adopt a dog or volunteer with RPSM: http://www.rpsm.org/

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