Canine commencement


The DAWGS in Prison program at the Gulf Forestry Camp graduated class 34 last week.

Special to The Star
Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 09:32 AM.

Paws for celebration.

Last Wednesday, the Developing Adoptable Dogs With Good Sociability (DAWGS in Prison) program, based out of the Gulf Forestry Camp in White City, graduated its 34th class.

The program, a partnership between the Florida Department of Corrections, the Board of County Commissioners and the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society, provides inmates the opportunity work as trainers for the rescued dogs, teaching the animals basic obedience skills and making them adoptable.

In the five years since the program’s conception, 355 dogs have graduated the program and 398 inmates have learned the skills of compassion, patience, tolerance and teamwork, all of which will aid them in securing employment upon release.

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.

“If our dogs could talk, they would marvel at the compassion and attention they receive here,” said DAWGS co-director Sandi Christy during her graduation speech where she addressed inmates, volunteers and adopters.

“They would tell us the finally have a purpose and enjoy learning new things.”

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