The WOOF Program is an 8 week canine training course located inside the Work Camp at Lowell Correctional Institution. Started in May of 2011 and under the direction of Julie Sanderson the WOOF Program has placed over 150 homeless dogs into loving forever homes.
How does it work?
Before being placed into the facility, WOOF Program candidates are chosen based on temperament examples are large puppies that need structure not attainable in a shelter setting, dog reactive canines, shy dogs that need socialization, submissive dogs that need help building confidence and unruly dogs that will benefit from boundaries. During their 8 weeks at the camp, they will learn to Sit, Down, Stay, Leave it, come on command and walk nicely on leash. At the end of their training they will test to receive their AKC Canine Good Citizenship. The WOOF dogs will come out for meet and greets at least twice during their class and hopefully all will be adopted prior to graduating the program. To learn more about meeting and potentially adopting a WOOF Dog, you can apply at www.hailesangels.org/adopt or see updates on the WOOF Facebook page.
How does this program help the community?
Not only does the WOOF Program help dogs that are usually overlooked in shelters, it is also a re-entry program for the trainers. While working in the WOOF Program they gain experience with not only canine handling and care skills but public speaking, time management, and working with groups of people from all different walks of life. Eligibility is based on charges, we do not accept violent offenders or people with crimes involving children.
Do the dogs live in a cell?
No, at the work camp the dogs and inmates are housed in a cottage-like dorm, with four inmates and two dogs per room (these rooms do not have doors but instead a baby gate for in-room play times). Dogs are kenneled next to their trainers during the night and/or when their trainer is participating in group training activities such as watching training videos, completing group assignments, etc. They have a play yard, training room and agility equipment to ensure that the selected dogs excel in their studies!