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Season of Plenty
Frankie helps Guardian Angel trainer Kimberly Wenthold practice.
Photo by LORI DUCKWORTH
Oklahomans looking to give back during the holidays need look no further than these nonprofit organizations doing good work to help others at home.
By Karlie Tipton
Published November/December 2016
Paws and Effect
These dogs—and the humans who train them—get a second chance thanks to the Guardian Angels program.
In Oklahoma in 2014, the female incarceration rate was 143 per 100,000—more than double the national average. But for inmates at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, the Guardian Angels dog training program offers the chance to learn new skills and benefit society.
“We take dogs from the Humane Society, Red Dirt Boxer Rescue, and the Animal Rescue Center in Shawnee; train them with basic commands; then send them home to new families,” program coordinator Lisa Bennett says.
Each trainer is certified by Bennett and then given a dog, who lives with her twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for ten to twelve weeks. During that time, the women and their dogs form strong bonds. Christine Ash, who recently finished training boxer/lab mix Cutie, says she misses each dog when it leaves, but she’s more happy than sad for many reasons.
“They’re going to their forever home,” she says. “I know I affected this state negatively with my crime, and now I’m making a positive impact.”
HOW TO HELP: The Guardian Angels program accepts leashes, crates, towels, treats, toys, and other dog-related donations at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, 29501 Kickapoo Road in McLoud, (405) 964-3020.