Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
The Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility and the Humane Society of Huron Valley have developed a program to help shelter dogs become better-suited for adoption through fostering and training. In the program, a shelter dog is assigned to two inmates who act as temporary foster owners and help train the dogs to become adoption-ready companions, according to the Detroit Free Press. Since the dogs are with their handlers 24-hours-a-day (even sleeping in their rooms), the inmates are screened and trained before qualifying for the fostering program. Each canine-graduate of the 10-week program receives a Canine Good Citizen certificate from the American Kennel Club, which verifies that they're house-trained, tolerant of grooming, trained to walk on a leash and responsive to basic commands. The first set of dogs graduated from the program in December 2010, with only four currently remaining available for adoption. The next set of canines is scheduled to graduate from the program and be available for adoption in February. Similar programs have been implemented before in other correctional facilities across the state.