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All Dogs Go to Heaven. But First, They Graduate.

A unique graduation ceremony unfolds today for some unsuspecting canines.

 

There won't be any caps thrown in the air. Tassles won't be shuttled from one side to the other. And any shouts from the audience of "BRUNO!" won't refer to that kid from across the tracks that finally made it through school.

But for five Peninsula Humane Society shelter dogs who once had questionable adoption potential, there'll be a whole lot of barking going on.

Bobbie, Harley, Jada, Mellow and Lizard will graduate Friday afternoon from an intensive eight-week training program at the Men’s Minimum Security Transitional Facility, 1580 Maple Street in Redwood City.

No, we're not kidding.

A partnership between PHS/SPCA and the Sheriff’s Office called TAILS (Transitioning Animals Into Loving Situations) began in July 2009, and has graduated 42 dogs.

Today's ceremony will be attended by San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office staff, PHS/SPCA officials, and may include some of the inmate handlers’ family members. The ceremony is not open to the general public, but interested adopters can make arrangements with PHS/SPCA to attend.

During the eight-week program, a PHS/SPCA trainer holds a once-weekly class for a small group of inmate handlers. Once each of the Friday sessions is over, inmates are held responsible for homework from the class, and for exercise, socialization, clean-up, grooming and overall well-being of the dogs.

PHS feels the TAILS program gives dogs with limited adoption potential some needed constant care and attention from inmates, and provides the inmates an avenue for developing skills and making their time more meaningful.

According to the humane society, an average day for the dogs under the guidance of their inmate handlers consists of supervised off-leash frolics in the facility’s yard, some group “play dates” with other dogs in the program (closely watched by guards), individual work on homework assignments from the weekly obedience classes and socialization with other dog inmates.

Friday’s graduates, featured on the PHS/SPCA adoptable dogs page, are:

  • Bobbie, a 6 month old, approx. 20-lb female Chihuahua/Pit Bull mix.  Bobbi is said to be great with other dogs and might be able to live with cats. Bobbie will do best with owners who have previous experience.
  • Harley, a 3 year old male, and the biggest dog among the grads. Harley apparently looks and acts mostly like a Border collie mix, but his breed or mix is a mystery to the PHS. He's described as a very smart dog who knows lots of tricks and commands.
  • Jada, a 4 1/2 year old female Dachshund mix, who’s made great progress in the TAILS program. PHS says she can be a bit hesitant around strangers and will do best in a quiet, adults-only home with people who have experience. Jada gets along well with other dogs.
  • Mellow is an 8 year old male Chihuahua who’s friendly, gentle and calm – perfect for a first-time owner, but not the ideal dog for a family with young children.
  • Then, there's Lizard, a 1-year-old male Chihuahua mix, described as a high-energy dog who will thrive in an active home with an active owner. Lizard gets along well with other dogs, but would probably be too much for younger kids. Teens would be OK.

If you're interested in adopting any of the TAILS graduates, you can contact Maria Eguren at meguren@PeninsulaHumaneSociety.org or call 650-340-7022, ext. 306.

"Our biggest challenge is finding new, permanent homes as good as the one these dogs have enjoyed the past eight weeks,” says PHS/SPCA spokesperson Scott Delucchi in a release. “Whoever adopts a TAILS dog will be bringing a real treasure into their home and life.”

Within a few weeks, PHS/SPCA staff will select another group of dogs for the next TAILS class.

But for those who graduate today, the future seems bright: blue skies and yellow fire hydrants dead ahead.

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Phyllis McArthur April 27, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I LOVE this story! Thanks very much to PHS for saving these pups

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