A Los Angeles-area animal rescue organization has teamed up with a state prison to get a group of shelter dogs ready for adoption.
Fourteen inmates and five rescue dogs on Saturday will "graduate" from Paws For Life, a pilot program between Santa Monica-based center Karma Rescue and the California State Prison of Los Angeles County.
The first of its kind in California, the program began June 1, when Karma Rescue brought the dogs to the Lancaster prison to live full-time for 12 weeks with the inmates, who learned to train their assigned dog to improve its chances of being adopted.
Four of the Paws For Life dogs have already been adopted and will go to their families after the graduation on Saturday.
"Men who had not seen an animal in decades were openly emotional at the sight of the beautiful creatures before them," Karma Rescue President Rande Levine said in a statement earlier this year. "Just petting our dogs brought many to happy tears."
Levine said the program lets inmates give back to society by helping the rescued animals.
Karma Rescue volunteers and a dog trainer visited the prison and held training sessions several times a week, the rescue group said in a press release.
In a post by Karma Rescue on its Facebook page, inmate Chris M. said caring for his canine companion Eddie "has been a great benefit to my life."
"He has brought a feeling of self worth by me doing something positive," Chris said.
The program will begin again in September with 10 dogs, Karma Rescue said.