Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis gets to know Gracie, the latest puppy enrolled in the Project
Good Dog program at the jail.
March 1, 2019
BY KEVIN FLANDERS, STAFF WRITER – Spencer New Leader
EAST BROOKFIELD — Thanks to a partnership between a local animal shelter and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, area dogs continue to receive the training they need prior to entering forever homes.
Six-month-old Gracie is the latest puppy to be welcomed into the Project Good Dog program, which enables inmates at the Worcester County Jail to train and care for dogs. Since 2015, the animals have been entrusted to the inmates by Second Chance Animal Shelter (SCAS), as many of the pups require extra attention or training. And within just a few months – after receiving plenty of love and training – the dogs are ready to be adopted.
Inmates and staff members alike are encouraged by Gracie’s progress in only a few days at the jail. The pup had spent her infant months on her own, but now she receives all the attention she can get from inmates.
“This beautiful blue heeler mix was once down on her luck and homeless. Now part of our Project Good Dog program at the jail, she is being trained, loved and happily fed each day by our best inmates to get ready for her forever home,” read a statement issued by the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s only Gracie’s second day at the jail and she is already less shy. In a few months, she will make a wonderful family pet.”
Inmates will continue to work with Gracie over the next few months to prepare her for adoption. By providing dogs with training and socialization skills, the inmates are significantly increasing their chances for adoption,
“I founded the program in 2015 because I saw a need for some additional training to help some of the dogs that were overlooked, either because of the breed or the energy level,” said
SCAS marketing director Lindsay Doray. “We knew they were great dogs that just needed someone to give them a little extra time and training.”
Project Good Dog has become just as beneficial to inmates as it is to their four-legged friends. Inmates must meet specific criteria to be eligible for the program, and it helps give them a sense of purpose and responsibility while in jail, officials said. It also helps inmates create bonds and work together to train dogs, in addition to relieving stress in the jail. Moreover, the program gives inmates who aren’t involved something to aspire toward if they maintain good behavior. Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis often stops by to visit the pups, and his staff has been thrilled by the progress of the program.
The initiative is also supported by PetSmart Charities and the Pedigree Foundation. In addition to its work with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, SCAS also runs similar programs in partnerships with the North Central Correctional Institution in Gardner and the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department in Ludlow. If you would like more information about Gracie and her eventual adoption process, please contact the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office at 508-854-1801.