Today we are meeting two very busy dogs who work hard in their community to raise money and awareness for rescues and any charity who they think needs recognition! One of them has even been in prison!? I wonder what he did wrong? Find out below:
Tell us about your family and how you rescued them.
Sir Shorty and Sadie Grace are only two of my furbabies. I also have Dixie Belle (also a rescue from our local shelter – I call her a “cocktail weenie” because she has a lil doxie in her and a mix of something else) and my beagle, Dam Sam. I adopted Sir Shorty in 2012. He was living in a shelter in central Arkansas when he was given a second chance at life and chosen to participate in the Arkansas Paws in Prison program. He entered the program in the summer of 2012, spent a few months in training (it took him a little longer than normal because he was severely heartworm positive and had a few scary trips to the vet) and I was able to adopt him in October as he was finishing his treatment. His first month in his new home was unfortunately spent in a crate as he recuperated. But he is heartworm negative today! Sadie Grace was a foster failure for me from our local shelter, Union County Animal Protection Society (UCAPS). She had been found running along a highway out in the county and was taken to the shelter. After a week there, no one had called to claim her. I was asked, since I love dachshunds, if I could foster her until she found a home. It would free up room in the shelter, they said. It wasn’t long before she had a place in my heart and home. I happily adopted her in October 2013.
How did you get your names?
Sir Shorty was named by his inmate trainers in prison. It fit his personality, so we kept it. Plus, he had been trained with that regal name. Who was I to try and change it? Sadie Grace was called Speckles the week she was in the shelter. It really didn’t fit her, as she was rather feminine and dainty. So I asked my Facebook friends in the Forever Dachshund group and we chose Sadie Grace. It is more fitting of the southern belle she is.
Describe yourself with 3 words.
Sir Shorty: Spoiled. Rotten. Spoiled rotten.
Sadie Grace: Lover. Mommy’s Girl. Precocious.
What’s your favourite thing to do?
Sir Shorty: My favorite thing to do is get attention. All of the attention. If it is nap time on the couch with mom, I have to be the only one up there so I get all the loving. If we go to the pet store, I have first pick out my toy and carry it around the store squeaking it so everyone will come see me. If we go for a walk, I have to be dressed the cutest so everyone will have to stop and adore me and pet me, of course.
Sadie Grace: My favorite thing to do is get my beauty sleep. Not that I need that much, as I am quite adorable. But napping allows me to have the energy I need to play with my sister, Dixie Belle, and go on adventures around town with my mom.
Do you have a favourite food?
Sir Shorty & Sadie Grace: Anything mom drops on the floor!
Do you have a favourite toy(s)?
Sir Shorty: Right now I am loving on my Kong monkey because it has a squeaker that I just can’t seem to kill. I have a toy graveyard in my back yard. This monkey may never make it out there.
Sadie Grace: My favorite toy is any one that Sir Shorty is playing with. He turns his head for a second, usually trying to be cute, and I swoop in and take his monkey!
Sir Shorty, can you tell us about the Paws in Prison Program which you were in?
I love the Paws in Prison program and I think I am probably the most famous dog to graduate from this program. I have been featured in newspapers and on television. I was the spokesdog for the Red Cross when they released their pet safety smartphone app. I was invited to the Governor’s Mansion where I met the First Lady of the State of Arkansas. She was impressed by my tuxedo. I like to tell people about PiP whenever and wherever I can!
Paws in Prison is made possible through the Arkansas Department of Correction’s partnership with animal shelters and advocate groups around the state. Selected inmates have the opportunity to become trainers of rescue dogs in the program. Inmates work with the dogs teaching them basic obedience skills and properly socializing the animals, making them more adoptable. This is not a state funded program. It operates solely off of donations.
How do you qualify?
Well, I think first and foremost you have to be cute – like me. The program partners with various shelters around the state. The trainers and program directors look for dogs they believe can be trained and socialized. Some of the dogs are trained and then returned to their home shelter for adoption. Others are trained especially for service. I’ve seen them adopted into nursing homes to help the elderly, go to schools to read with children, help wounded warriors with PTSD or those with disabilities just perform everyday tasks.
What do you do while “in prison”?
Mine was a special case because I was pretty sick with heartworms. I was at the women’s’ prison where they tended to me and my little paws often didn’t touch the ground. So I was in training longer than most of the dogs in my class. Once I got to feeling better, I learned some of the canine good citizen points. Of course, the larger dogs in the program do more agility. I learned how to be polite, sit pretty (which comes in handy when begging for treats) and I can also say my prayers, which is putting my paws on my mom’s arm and bowing my head. I usually am praying for all my friends at the prison or shelter. I loved my inmate trainers. I stayed with them in their barracks at night and went with them to their jobs when we weren’t training.
The benefits of this program are three-fold. The Paws in Prison program reduces the number of animals who perish by better preparing them to be loving, obedient and adoptable pets. The program will give inmates the skills necessary to support successful rehabilitation and reentry – and ultimately improve public safety. At the same time, this is an opportunity for the inmates to do something positive for the communities of Arkansas.
You are both very active in your community, can you tell us about a few things you have done to help out?
Sir Shorty: I am the number one advocate for Paws in Prison, of course. This summer I went to the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival and won cutest dog in my category. While giving my acceptance speech, I talked about Paws in Prison, because so many people need to know how awesome it is. Last year for Halloween, I went to a costume contest dressed as an inmate (and my mom was the warden). It gave me an opportunity to tell people where I came from because I am pretty proud of being a PiP graduate. My brother, sisters and I also recently donated our time (and pretty faces) to help our local community college advertise their online learning program.
Sadie Grace: I like to remember my roots, you know, where I came from. So I have spent some time giving back to the shelter that I was adopted from. Earlier this year, the shelter (UCAPS) had a flea market fundraiser. I gussied up and spent the day in the kissing booth. I shared my lips with young and old, and even some that didn’t want kisses. I was able to raise more than $100, which will help other dogs that were in the same situation as I was. Since I can’t hold my licker, mom had me in the kissing booth at a football game this month that was also a fundraiser for our community’s United Way. I think it is just as important to help humans as dogs, since they feed us and all.
Do you have any fundraising/awareness event planned for the near future?
Sir Shorty: We do have a race coming up, but racing isn’t my thing.
Sadie Grace: We have a big weekend planned for the 5th Annual United Way Dachshund Dash here in Union County. Yes, my mom built a whole fundraising event around her love on dachshunds. It is so much fun. I won’t be racing this year, though. I will again be in a kissing booth, as well as judging several contests. I also plan to make an appearance at our city’s Mutt Strut at Halloween, although I am not a mutt! I love dressing up and this is the first year I will get to go. It is also a fundraiser for local charities.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
Thanks for the opportunity! If people want more information, they can go here: Arkansas Paws in Prison
Very interesting reading. The Paws in Prison is definitely a worthwhile program for both inmates and the dogs. We would love to see this program in more places around the world. Be sure to check out the Arkansas Paws in Prison Facebook page to learn more.
That’s how the doggie biscuit crumbles!