One of the most heartwarming programs we have is dog prison training.
This program gives prisoners the chance to prove themselves through training shelter dogs. One great incentive that inmates get from this program is if they do well, they could be given a pardon sooner than expected.
This program also gives dogs a second chance. Most of these dogs are shelter rescues, and training them for a special purpose gives them a higher chance of being adopted. Once the dog graduates from the program, they will be released for adoption or paired with a veteran that would need support.
Steven and Pavlov had this beautiful relationship while in the program.
Pavlov was a stray dog wandering around the streets in Philadelphia. He was taken in by the city’s Animal Care and Control Team, who later signed him up for their recidivism reduction program under the non-profit New Leash on Life.
That’s where he met Steven Morales. At first, he couldn’t believe he would be training this dog. He described him as a dog that was “running the joint” when they met, and he had no clue how to train him.
But that was just the start of a strong bond they would soon form.
They do things together – eat, sleep, whatever. He stayed close to Steven and had formed an attachment to him. He was simply lovable.
It was until two months into the program that Pavlov started obeying Steven’s commands. That’s when he knew he could do this; he could train this dog! Pavlov’s progress also led to Steven’s progress during his stay in prison. Because of his excellent work, he was released early.
Steven didn’t know what to do with Pavlov and didn’t want to leave him.
As much as he wanted to adopt him, he made the difficult decision not to because he was unsure of the life he was getting back to. He didn’t know where to live and what to do for a living. It wasn’t ideal for Pavlov.
Luckily, Pavlov got adopted by Marina Andersson. It was love at first sight for her. His loving disposition won her over; she had Steven to thank for that.
One day, she coincidentally bumped into New Leash on Life’s Facebook post about Pavlov.
“That’s my baby!” she said as she recognized the dog in the photo.
Steven was in the photo, too. And that’s when Marina started reaching out to him. She also gave him updates on Pavlov, and Steven was relieved to see how his old buddy was living the life he deserved.
Marina thought it would be nice to surprise Steven with a visit. She thought it would be nice to let them meet each other after all those years.
Marina and Pavlov drove to ACCT Philly, where Steven now works.
They set up Steven as if he was being interviewed for a documentary, not knowing that Marina and Pavlov were in the other room. On cue, the two entered the room for the big surprise, and you can see how Pavlov and Steven still had that bond.
Marina and Steven promised to keep in touch and might tap him for some pet-sitting duties whenever she needs a hand. It was a great story that came full circle, and Pavlov was one lucky dog to have two amazing humans who loved and cared for him.