“As the coordinator for Project Good Dog at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office I have seen many dogs in need come through our door, none more frightened and shut down than May. May was a seven month old Hound mix who Second Chance rescued from an unfortunate situation that left her with extreme anxiety caused by the trauma she experienced at such a young age. May was fearful of everyone and everything. Going outdoors, just three steps down the hall, was like running a marathon for her. When she finally did get outside she would do backflips on the leash trying to get back in. We couldn’t get her to eat, to come out of her crate, to interact at all.
I was so afraid we wouldn’t be able to help her, shedding tears over this poor puppy, not knowing what to do for her. Then one day I climbed in her crate with her to say goodnight – yeah I wasn’t giving up on this girl – and Miss May gave me kisses! I was so shocked and it was at that moment I knew she would be okay.
Gradually with plenty of patience, time and consistency May came out of her shell and grew to trust us. Every small accomplishment by May made all of us at Project Good Dog so happy as we knew how difficult it was for her and how far she’d come. When she barked for the first time we all erupted in cheers. When she began to play with the other dogs we looked on in silent awe of this strong, beautiful girl. In the eleven weeks May spent at Project Good Dog she learned not only her basic commands, but how to have fun, how to trust, how to love. She learned how to truly be a dog.
Fast forward five years and May is amazing, living in her forever home with me! I just couldn’t let her go when she completed the program, I knew she needed me. As it turned out I needed her just as much. Today May is silly, quirky, affectionate and playful. She loves to go outside in her yard and she is an absolute nut for food of all kinds! May makes me laugh every day, and with her strength and resilience she has taught me so much more than I could ever teach her. I truly have no idea where May would be without Second Chance and Project Good Dog.”
Second Chance’s Project Good Dog pairs behaviorally needy shelter dogs with inmates who provide them with 24/7 care and training. They work with the dogs on socialization, basic obedience, housebreaking, and sometimes a trick or two. Not only does it provide benefits to the dogs but it also has positive results for the handlers who learn patience, compassion, responsibility. Many of the inmates say that it also gives them a focus while they transition back into the community. The training the dogs receive while in the program helps them to be more adoptable and stay in their homes. We asked the handlers how they felt about the program and the responses were all positive.