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Washington prison program gives neglected dogs second chance

A program at an Eastern Washington prison trains abandoned and neglected dogs so they can be adopted out to a family.

A Northwest family is welcoming a new addition to their family. Her name is Rae. And her story is unique. She’s a husky mix who was adopted by Don and Esther from Creswell, Ore., which is about 15 miles south of Eugene.

“We never imagined we’d go almost 400 miles to get a dog,” Esther said.

They traveled to Connell, Wash. to the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center to pick up Rae. They brought their 12-year-old granddaughter Alyssa to meet their new family member.

“I think she’s really sweet,” Alyssa said.

The two bonded right away.

Abandoned and neglected dogs are sent to the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center to get trained to increase their chances of being adopted by a family. The inmates use only positive reinforcement with the dogs waiting to be adopted.

About 1,500 dogs have passed through the Ridge dog program since it was started eight years ago.

Brett helped train Rae.

“Personally, my mom died while I was in prison,” Brett said. “And to have a dog there to help with the emotional aspects of being kept apart from my family was really a life saver for me.”

And it’s a life saver for the dogs as well. They’re getting a second chance.

Talk about a perfect fit, and perfect timing. Rae is filling a void by the loss of the family’s dog Lily.

“We really miss her,” said Esther. “Her body just gave out.”

Now they have Rae. And now Rae has a new home with a loving family in Creswell, Ore.