Inmates and shelter dogs changing each other's lives - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Inmates and shelter dogs changing each other's lives

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CONNELL, Wash.—Inmates at the Coyote Ridge Correction Center and dogs from a Tri-Cities animal shelter came together Monday to learn skills and change each other's lives.  

A2Z Animal Sheltering Services brought two dogs and Krystal Ellingson owner of Speak Dog Training instructed the training.  The program teaches offenders responsibility, social skills and patience.

The dogs will live with the offenders for four to eight weeks.  Inmates will take care of the dogs and provide obedience training and verbal command training.  Once training is complete, the dogs will be adopted into local homes.

But the dogs aren't the only ones receiving training, it also teaches inmates a skill they can use once they are out of the facility. 

"It will help me learn a skill for when I am finally able to leave this facility and get back into the world. I have a proper skill that I might be able to have to get a good job," Allen Root, inmate.

Plus the program reduces violence in the prison.  The Correctional Captain says they think having animals in the facility reduces stress.

"It takes a little more stress out of it the daily stress of doing nothing is gone because now we have this animal to interact with," says Allen Root.

They hope to add four more dogs to the program and continue with the training for as long as they have the resources.