CUMMING, Ga. — The Forsyth County Jail's Pups with Purpose training program is preparing to graduate their fourth class of pups. 

The unique partnership between the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, dog trainer Scot Rucker, and the Forsyth County Animal Shelter launched late last year and has had 22 dogs come through it. 

The program gives carefully selected inmates an opportunity to give back to society by providing foster care and basic obedience training to homeless shelter animals. Each animal has one primary inmate trainer and at least one secondary inmate trainer who teaches the animal basic obedience. 

Volunteer dog trainer, Rucker instructs inmates on how to properly care for and train the dogs during an intensive five-week obedience training schedule. During the training program, each dog is socialized through interaction with people and other animals. Each dog is also crate trained and house trained.

Rucker says that while he's worked with dogs for years, it's working with the inmates that has really changed his outlook on life.

"They just need mentorship and for someone to let them know they're doing a good job. I had no idea what I was getting into when I agreed to volunteer for this program, and I'm so grateful for the chance to watch these guys grow with the help of the animals," said Rucker.

Lt. Tom Moore with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office says the purpose of the program is to ensure that dogs aren't returned to the shelter once they're adopted, "we make it easier on their future family because they're already trained."

Moore explained that while the program provides animals that would have been "euthanized" a second chance, it also provides social and job skills to inmates in the areas of dog training and dog grooming. 

"The inmates are able to feel hope for their future, and the dogs are able to have a better chance at finding a good home. It's way to stop the revolving door for both inmates and shelter dogs," said Moore.

Moore adds that what makes their program different than others across the area is their strict minimum five-week training schedule and their free posting training courses for adopted dogs, which is offered to all of the families that take home one of the Pups with Purpose animals. The program also trains some of the shelter dogs to become therapy animals.

Cynthia Iacopella with the Forsyth County Animal Shelter says while the benefits for the dogs are amazing, the benefits to the inmates are just as important.

"It allows the inmates to feel self-worth. Dogs don't judge you on your past. They just want to feel loved and they'll love you right back," said Iacopella.

If you are interested in adopting an animal from the Pups with a Purpose program, click here.

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