After Trip to Prison, a New Leash on Life
From the dog house to the big house - with the ultimate goal of finding the perfect house. That is the journey ahead for Marlow, a young adult Labrador mix at the Moore Humane Society.
Marlow is enrolling in an innovative new program at the Randolph Correctional Center in Asheboro called "A New Leash on Life." The program is a partnership that gives select inmates the opportunity to develop skills and serve the community by training dogs to be well-behaved pets.
Marlow starts the eight-week program next Friday.
Under the guidance of experienced staff from the Southern Tails School for Dogs, two inmates will share responsibility for Marlow's care and training. He'll learn basic obedience skills, proper leash etiquette, and a few fun tricks, all taught using only positive reinforcement techniques.
Marlow, a high-energy stray who was found at Fort Bragg in May, is an ideal candidate for the program because he needs a little extra help with his manners. The daily one-on-one attention from the trainers, coupled with some yummy high-value treats, will go a long way toward helping Marlow develop the skills and self-control he needs to find a forever home.
Marlow's rambunctious nature, combined with his size, means he is difficult for shelter employees and volunteers to handle.
"The first day he was great, then the jumping and mouthing started," said Lynn Stickel, a shelter volunteer who took a shine to the blond dog with plenty of energy.
She knew right away that she had to do something to help him increase his adoptability.
"I went to his cage one day and he put his head next to the door," she said. "Right then I could just see what a wonderful dog he was, that he was just trying to find his way in the world and needed a little bit of help."
She tried working with him herself, but he was too much to handle, so she put the word out seeking help. A local trainer came out, then a law enforcement K-9 officer. Each lasted one day.
Then by chance, Stickel found a partner in what the Humane Society staff affectionately calls her Mission Marlow. He came in the form of officer Reco Washington, of the Pinehurst Police Department. Stickel and Washington met at the Fourth of July celebration in Pinehurst and chatted briefly about dogs. A few days later, Stickel called the department to speak with Washington about helping with Marlow.
Washington, who left his pet pit bull back in Georgia with family when he moved here, agreed to help Stickel work with Marlow. The officer works with Marlow for 60 to 90 minutes a day once or twice a week, walking him, and trying to improve his demeanor and his manners through positive reinforcement.
"He did a lot of jumping at first, but he is calmer now," Washington said of Marlow. "He's really a good dog."
In three months, Marlow has come a long way, both say, but he still needs more.
"He needs consistency and training every day," Stickel said.
Stickel learned about the prison program in Asheboro from Neill Godfrey, chief deputy of the Moore County Sheriff's Office. She contacted program administrators and was able to get Marlow into the program.
The staff at the Humane Society is throwing Marlow a weeklong going-away party in hopes that someone will commit to adopting him upon his graduation and release from the prison training program in December.
To learn more about Marlow, visit him at the Moore Humane Society, 5355 N.C. 22 in Carthage. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday.
Stickel said an active family would be ideal for Marlow.
"He is bright, eager to please, and lots of fun to be around," Stickel. "I think he will do well with a high-energy family that can give him a place to exercise. He definitely will need more than a regular walk on a leash."
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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