Photographer Shayan Asgharnia—whose work graces this issue’s cover (also shown above)—introduced us to Pawsitive Change, an organization he volunteered with that tasks incarcerated people in maximum security prisons with training shelter dogs in high-kill facilities. The program gives “both [dogs and the incarcerated] a second chance at life on the outside” says Zach Skow, Executive Director and Founder of Marley’s Mutts—the organization under which the Pawsitive Change program is housed. Four experienced trainers guide the program over fourteen weeks, during which the inmates work towards vocational accreditation and the dogs towards their Canine Good Citizen Certification, considered the gold standard of dog behavior assessment. Cyclell, an inmate participant, attests to the program’s significance, saying, “We live inside a place where we can’t show our emotion—it’s considered a weakness. But with this program, we can feel—give and received affection. We become cold in here, much more cold then when we entered. But these dogs give us a chance to be human.” 

Visit their website to learn more about what Pawsitive Change does or to donate.

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Image courtesy Shayan Asgharnia