Women Offering Obedience & Friendship
In June 2011, Patriot Services Dogs partnered with the Florida Department of Corrections to create WOOF, or “Women Offering Obedience and Friendship.” Established on the cottage-like setting of Lowell Correctional Facility’s Work Camp, the program initially offered twenty-four female inmates the opportunity to train twelve rescue dogs. Today, the program includes two sections: a rescue section and a service dog section, along with a robust educational program for the inmate-trainers. All the women of WOOF work together to train dogs and prepare themselves for successful reentry into society.
“I made a lot of selfish decisions before I went to prison, the WOOF program taught me how to give back.”
Cindy, Former inmate-trainer, current PSD Volunteer
The Rescue Dogs
Haile's Angels Pet Rescue, in Gainesville, Florida, selects five of its dogs in need of basic obedience. This 8-week training course includes commands such as "sit," "stay," and basic leash training, making the dogs more adoptable. 100% of our WOOF trained dogs have found forever homes. Every eight weeks, a new class of dogs enters into the program.
The Service Dogs
A handful of WOOF inmates are chosen to raise service dogs. Each of these inmate-trainers is assigned to a PSD puppy when it is eight weeks old. The trainer is responsible for training her dog along the PSD guidelines and her dog's complete care. We use volunteer weekend raisers to expose the prison pups to real-world experiences such as riding in cars, going to restaurants and stores, and much more.
Haile's Angels Pet Rescue and WOOF
The WOOF Program is an eight-week canine training course located inside the Work Camp at Lowell Correctional Institution. Started in May of 2011, under Julie Sanderson's direction, the WOOF Program has placed over 150 homeless dogs into loving, forever homes.
Patriot Service Dogs Partnered with the Gainesville, Florida pet rescue, Haile’s Angels, in 2015. Together, we work to find forever homes for dogs with special needs and unlucky backstories. For eight weeks at a time, our inmate-trainers at the Lowel Correctional Facility, nature and train dogs from Haile’s Angles. Handpicked by the Hailes team to enter the program, these are the kinds of dogs that get overlooked—older dogs, dogs with medical needs, young dogs with boundless energy. During their eight weeks in the prison program, our trainers teach them basic commands and manors. They evaluate the dogs’ behaviors and give the Haile’s Angles team the feedback they need to determine the best home environment for the dog’s future. So far, over 150 dogs who have passed through the WOOF program have found the home they were looking for!
Where are the WOOF Dogs Now?
Mama Dog entered the WOOF Program suffering from untreated allergies and over breeding. As hard as her life had been, she held no grudges; she just wanted to be around people and eat snacks, many snacks. After a long wait, she found a forever home able to treat her medical conditions. Today, she enjoys comfy beds, air-conditioning, peanut butter, blueberries, yogurt, honey, salmon, and a bit of birthday cake on her adoption day.
Most Patriot Service Dogs come to us from breeders (for more info on why see our FAQ page), but every once in a while, Haile’s Angels let us know that they have a special puppy they believe would make a good service dog—Maverick (a.k.a. Mavy) is one of those pups. Along with the rest of his litter, Mavy was surrendered to Haile’s as a young puppy, but after a recommendation from Haile’s Team and an evaluation from PSD, he entered the WOOF Program as a service dog in training. Many rescues cannot complete our service dog training program because they don’t pass the eye, ear, and hip examination we do to ensure dogs are strong enough for a service dog's active life. Luckily, Mavy passed all of his exams and graduated with the Class of 2020!
Percy entered the WOOF program because his energy proved too much for adopters. Haile’s and our inmate-trainers hoped to find a way for Percy to contain that energy so he could find a home. But over time, Percy showed that his energy was a part of his personality; asking him to contain it would have been like asking him to change his fur pattern. So, Haile’s changed its goals for Percy—he needed a job where his enthusiasm for life would be appreciated. Percy eventually found his calling detecting boa constrictors ravaging Florida’s native wildlife!