Paws For Life
A special initiative between Karma Rescue and the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation
On behalf of Karma Rescue, I am proud to announce our newest (and by far our boldest) outreach program: Paws For Life. 


More than 100,000 prisoners are currently housed in California's 38 correctional

facilities; many hundreds of thousands of dogs are euthanized each year in pounds

across the state. 


Where the paths of incarcerated humans and shelter dogs merge, there exists hope.


Earlier this year, officials from the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) approached Karma Rescue with a unique opportunity: could we help them develop a training program inside one of our state prisons that would pair inmates with rescued shelter dogs? While similar programs have been instituted across the nation, Paws For Life is California's first and only program in a high-security prison involving inmates serving life-term sentences. 


Paws For Life brings rescued shelter dogs to live full-time with inmates at the Los Angeles County CDCR. Over a twelve-week cycle, inmates will learn from Karma trainers how to train our rescue dogs for 'Canine Good Citizen' certification. 


Once a dog earns this designation, the chance for successful adoption increases -- as does our ability to rescue another shelter animal in its place. The inmates also benefit: beyond the rehabilitative therapy of a dog's presence, they are learning "real world" skills and connecting to a larger a humanitarian process outside of the prison walls. This program gives them a way to contribute back to society by helping a dog get a second chance at life.


On June 1, we brought five shelter dogs to the prison. Men who had not seen an animal in decades were openly emotional at the sight of the beautiful creatures before them. Just petting our dogs brought many to happy tears. It was a day I will never, ever forget.


I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to so many people who have been instrumental in getting this program up and running. Without question, it is because of the patience and perseverance of Warden
John Soto, Captain Crystal Wood (pictured left), and Lieutenants Charles Hughes and Aidan Gaffney that Paws For Life went from a dream to a reality; words cannot express how grateful I am to these individuals and their staff. Similarly, the Karma Rescue Board of Directors have supported this initiative every step of the way, and it is because of their wisdom and encouragement that Karma Rescue is a part of this groundbreaking program. 


I want to invite you personally to get to know the pioneering Paws For Life participants (and dogs!) below. Going forward, I hope you will join me and the Karma Rescue team on this exciting journey of outreach in our community.


With gratitude,


Rande Levine

President and Founder

Karma Rescue, a 501(c)(3) organization 

Paws For Life 
Meet Our Pilot Class 

The 14 inmates selected went through a rigorous application process that included interviews and a written essay. "Paws For Life would give me the opportunity to do something for someone else, to give back to a society I cheated," wrote one inmate. 

Jack had not pet a dog since 1988. "I can tell you the exact date: March 16, 1988," he said, petting Shelby, his assigned dog. Jack was incredulous that the day had come when he could touch a dog again. "When the dogs first came in it was hard to breathe. I still can't believe it. It's almost too much." 


Travielle walks Chuey through the Paws For Life outdoor facilities. Each dog gets its own 15-by-8 foot kennel, complete with bed, igloo, and kiddie pool. They don't get to spend much time there, though: the dogs are with the inmates most of the time and at night they sleep in crates inside the cell block.


For more pictures and updates, visit our Facebook page regularly.


If you are as moved as we are by this historic collaboration between Karma Rescue and the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, please donate today.  


  Karma Rescue is a 501c3 nonprofit. Donations are tax deductible.

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