Brad and Lisa Waggoner and Tiffany Lovell of Cold Nose College located in western North Carolina were awarded Volunteer of the Year for 2012 by the Georgia Department of Corrections for their participation in the “Rescued….Saving Dogs and Detainees One Life at a Time” program at the Colwell Probation and Detention Center in Blairsville, Georgia. Also recognized as Volunteers of the Year were Dr. William Mitchell, Veterinarian, and Carol Shannon of Two Paws Up Mobile Grooming for their participation in the program. Tri-State Pet Rescue, founded by Jan Eaton, was recognized as Corporate Sponsor of the Year.
The Rescued program is the first program of its kind in the State of Georgia to pair rescue dogs and detainees within a state correctional facility in order to help the dogs become more adoptable. It’s also apparent to see the difference the dogs are making in the lives of the detainees with the unconditional love, the lack of judgment and undivided attention on their detainee handlers. The six dogs and six detainees live together 24/7 within the facility.
Cold Nose College has been involved with the program since it’s inception in July of 2012. In addition to helping build the prison dog training library with a host of educational books, videos and DVDs about behavior, learning theory and training, Brad, Lisa and Tiffany spend at minimum of one morning each week working with the detainees and the dogs covering Basic Manners Training, Dog Body Language, Agility for Fun, Nose Games and Pet First Aid & CPR.
At this time, all detainees who have been in the program and released continue to be productive citizens. In particular three of the men are now working professionally with dogs; one is an avid volunteer with a local rescue group and drives long distance transports; another is working as a groomer in a veterinary hospital; and yet another is teaching dog training classes at a day care facility.
Due to the overwhelming success of the program, it was also announced on Monday that the go ahead and funding has been approved to double the size of the Rescued program.