VACAVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) -- Ten dogs rescued from kill shelters got a new lease on life behind bars at the California Medical Facility prison in Vacaville on Wednesday.
Paws for Life K9 Rescue got an unexpected welcome from the staff and administration of the facility.
Inmates will care for five of the elderly dogs in the Grand-Paws program that will live out their lives in the prison.
They may be used as service dogs in the facility’s hospice where sick or elderly inmates spend the rest of their days. The younger dogs will be trained for adoption and as service dogs for seniors and the elderly.
The arrival of the canines caused an air of excitement by inmates in the dorm near a recently built kennel.
Inmates welcomed a new challenge and related to dogs that had been abandoned by society.
“To be able to train the dog to be able to go home one day because it’s our dream to also reintegrate back into society. It’s a huge thing,” said inmate James Cross.
Those assigned to the program said in some cases inmates relate better to dogs than to fellow inmates because the animals have no expectations other than to have a loving home.
Jon Grobman was released from a life-term in prison on the strength of creating the Paws for Life program, among other rehabilitation programs he championed while behind bars.
He said helping shelter dogs find adoptive families is a worthy goal for inmates.
“It’s an opportunity for you to make amends in the community,” Grobman told FOX40.
Prison administrators welcomed the enthusiasm shown by inmates, saying improved morale will make their job easier.
“I’ve never seen so many smiles in this prison,” said Chief Deputy Warden Daniel Cueva, who has worked at the facility for 22 years.
It appears the two-year effort to bring the program to CMF was worthwhile. There were already plans to expand the program to include more dogs.