Belle, a hound mix, was adopted by Lynda and Jim White of Cape San Blas.

Wes Locher | The Star
Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 09:15 AM.

The milestones don’t stop for the Gulf County’s DAWGS in Prison program.

Last Wednesday, the Developing Adoptable Dogs With Good Sociability program, based out of the Gulf Forestry Camp in White City, graduated its 33rd class and all nine pups were adopted into “forever homes.”

The partnership between the Florida Department of Corrections, the Board of County Commissioners and the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society provides inmates the opportunity to train rescued dogs with basic obedience skills.

The pairing leads to the creation of socialized dogs ready for adoption while the inmates learn a viable job skill that can be put to use upon release.

With the latest graduation numbers added to the program’s five-year tally, 344 dogs have graduated to new homes and 392 inmates have participated in the program. 

During each class dogs are brought from the humane society in Port St. Joe to spend eight weeks with a group of inmate trainers, handlers and caretakers.

While the dogs learn new skills the inmates learn compassion, patience, tolerance and teamwork.

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