The lyrics “We believe in new beginnings/ Giving in and forgiving/ We believe in happy endings/ You and I” are more than merely lines from a chart-topping duet co-sung by Emmylou Harris. Today the words also describe emotions expressed as both female offenders and adoptable dogs embark on a new beginning at the completion of a training program created through a partnership between the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office and Bonaparte’s Retreat Dog Rescue, a non-profit founded by the multi-Grammy Award winner.
Since the fall of 2015 the Second Chances Offender Dog Training Program has helped female inmates at the Davidson County Correction Center in Tennessee learn the patience, compassion and sense of responsibility needed in life as they teach social skills to dogs who need forever homes.
Over the course of a six-week period two female inmates provide TLC and train one adoptable dog. Following the program all of the canine graduates will find families to love thanks to Bonaparte’s Retreat.
Bonaparte’s Retreat and the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office celebrated the program’s fourth graduation day on May 3, 2016. Since its start 18 dogs have been rescued and successfully trained, and all but one (a graduate from the most recent session) have already found pet parents.
During the first graduation ceremony in September 2015, music icon Emmylou Harris had this to say about the program: “I believe that animals can transform lives. Todays’ graduation of the first class of Second Chances dogs and female offenders was proof of that. They are the ones who did the hard work to train and socialize the dogs, and who, in the process, are transforming their own lives as well.”
For more information regarding Bonaparte’s Retreat Dog Rescue (which saves dogs who are facing their fate in Nashville shelters) and the Second Chances Offender Dog Training Program:
The following video from WKRN News 2 offers a look back at Second Chance Offender Dog Training Program’s first graduation ceremony:
Photo Credit: WKRN News 2