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Prisoners save, train dogs at risk of euthanasia

Posted: 6:21 PM, Jan 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-06 01:13:45Z

HOMINY, Okla. -- Dogs rescued from shelters across the state were brought to prison to be trained by the prisoners.

About eight dogs have been living in the Dick Conner Correctional Center for the last 12 weeks. 

Teva is one of the dogs in the CARE Rescue Program. She was previously abandoned, starving and days away from being euthanized. 

Teva lived in a cell with Marvin Poindexter, who is sentenced to two life sentences for manslaughter and drug charges. 

"She sleeps right there with me," Poindexter said. "It's an every day thing. It's nonstop training." 

The goal of the training is to get the dogs ready to be adopted. 

Once a week the prisoners and dogs work with a trainer from CARE Rescue. 

As valuable as the experience was for the dogs, saving them from being euthanized, it was as valuable for the prisoners. 

"The guys have got something to care about, something to work for every day," Poindexter said. "It takes a lot of the prison out of it. It changes people on the inside." 

Poindexter said Teva has given him a sense of home.

Friday, the two said their final goodbyes. All of the dogs and their trainers graduated from the program. The trainers were given a certificate and the dogs were given a treat. 

"It's a piece of me that's leaving," Poindexter said. "I put a lot of work into it... sometimes six and eight hours a day." 

Almost all of the dogs have already found a place to call home after they left the prison. 

Haley Lewis was at the graduation ready to pick up Teva. The pup is a Christmas present for her four-year old and six-year old daughters. 

"They got framed pictures of her under the tree and a letter from Santa that explained to them that it was her Christmas wish for a family," Lewis said.

Friday was the first day Lewis met the new addition to her family and the man behind bars who saved her life. 

"It's great to put a face with the person who has been with her for the last 12 weeks and that she has learned so much from," Lewis said. "A little emotional knowing that these guys all care so much for these dogs. They've been such a big part of their daily routines." 

"I can't make a mark out there no more, but if I can do anything to help. I help these dogs," Poindexter said. 

CARE Rescue plans to start another round of the training program in the next few weeks. 

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