Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital supports New Leash on Life USA http://www.newleashonlife-usa.org/. New Leash is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, prison-dog training program, dedicated to improving the life of inmates and saving the lives of dogs. One of New Leash on Life’s new programs is “Saving and Reclaiming Lives”, which addresses the needs of wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from PTSD. With the guidance of a decorated local war hero with PTSD, a certified dog trainer, a psychologist, and case managers, assistance dogs are trained to help veterans return to civilian life and grow as healthy human beings who can be happy and fulfilled in their lives. A carefully prepared assistance dog can make active interventions to mitigate the impact of specific symptoms of PTSD like panic attacks, nightmares, isolation, emotional distance, anger, anxiety, helplessness, fear, and depression in order to break negative patterns of reaction and support the veteran in taking positive actions for recovery. Each trained assistance dog is donated to a veteran with PTSD. New Leash offers a way to impact social problems, support veterans, reduce recidivism, and reduce the cost of providing service dogs with an outstanding program that restores an individual’s self-respect and sense of self-worth while protecting dogs from euthanasia.
New Leash saves the lives of at-risk shelter dogs by training prison inmates to care for, and socialize them to enhance their adoptability. Inmates attend workshops on life skills and job readiness, and many receive opportunities for paid internships in the animal care field when they are paroled.
Previously “unadoptable” shelter dogs, many at the brink of death, now find loving forever homes. Additionally, inmates who have been in and out of prison most of their adulthood now have a skill they can use to gain productive employment.