Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Leash on Life

If you remember from these posts, earlier this year I started a program called Creature Comforts to make pet beds using quilters scraps that would benefit the Forsyth Humane Society and its related programs. Last Tuesday my sons and one of their friends went with me to the New Leash on Life graduation ceremony in Winston-Salem. New Leash on Life, or NLOL, is a program where qualified inmates in the NC prison system are paired with dogs who need training. Working with volunteer professional trainers, the inmate trainers work intensely for 8 weeks teaching the dogs basic training, agility, housebreaking, and socialization skills. At the end of the training period they celebrate their achievements with a graduation ceremony and the dogs who have found forever homes are presented to their new owners. A few days later a new class of dogs comes in and the training begins again. This local chapter is sponsored by FHS, and there are about 20 other NLOL programs throughout NC.

There is a great video about the program here.

At this session's ceremony I was honored to present  NLOL with 5 large pet beds for their ongoing use! It was so inspiring to see the work that goes into training these dogs...I asked one of the trainers how long each day they spend with the dogs and would you believe the answer? 8 - 10 hours a day! And let me say, these dogs are smart and well behaved...the perfect fit for a new forever home.

I love this program and how it fits so well with the mission of Creature Comforts. Everything - dogs, inmates, and yes, even fabric scraps  - finds new purpose. Like I said in my presentation, I truly believe that everything - and everyone - has a purpose. Nothing is just for throw away.

photo courtesy of S. Belcher
Here we are unloading the pet beds! I'm so excited to be making this delivery!

Program coordinators and a trainer greet the new owner of one of the dogs :)

The trainers showing off the dogs' new skills...they were really good!

Gifts for some of the program coordinators, made by an inmate. These were carved out of soap and are really neat. I wish I could show the face of the trainer who was presenting them...he had the biggest smile!

A lot of work from a lot of people went into making these first 5 beds. Even my oldest pitched in helping chop up scraps for the filler! Knowing that there will be that much less stuff in the landfill and that what would have been thrown out has now been put to a good use makes it all worthwhile. It may be a small thing, but just think what would happen if more people did something, even if it's just small?

The next production focus will be beds for use at the FHS adoption center. Stay tuned! :)


Salem Stitcher said...

I hate I wasn't able to come to the graduation. I know it had to be a moving experience.

Those soap sculptures are amazing!

woolywoman said...

This is what the prison system should be doing- teaching these men how to be good humans! And what a dream it would be, to get a dog that was already trained. Good for you for contributing to such a worthy cause.

Nane said...

Way to go...glad your boys got to see this all too!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I love your quote regarding NOTHING being disposable. You are a smart lady. I need to get choppin'!!