Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.
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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 9.16 31 Johnson works for Paws Behind Bars, a state-run dog-training program for inmates facilitated by Adopt Me! Bluegrass Pet Rescue. Johnson and 11 other inmates — serving time at the minimum- and medi- um-security prison for things like robbery, murder, arson and drug trafficking — are each assigned one dog at a time to train and care for around the clock. Bluegrass Pet Rescue pulls about 300 dogs from shelters each year and 100 of those go through Paws Behind Bars, one of several such programs in the state. "We try really hard to screen the dogs that come in," says Lisanne Mikan, who founded the rescue and helps run the seven-year-old program. She looks for healthy dogs that don't show aggression but maybe lack confidence. "And they all come from shelters where euthanasia was gonna happen on Friday," she says. e inmates earn $2 a day to train the dogs, focusing on leash training, visitor control (not running up to people) and food control (not eating unless given the go-ahead). "Manners, composure, to sit here and not bother us while we talk," says John- son, who has trained 20 dogs over the course of his three years in the program. "See how she keeps getting up and I keep" — he push- es his hand on her back so she'll sit by him. "I'm not focusing on her; it's just repetition and being patient. I've made her sit probably a hundred times since we've been in this room." Kenzi finally sits still for a moment. "at's the composure." To be eligible for the program, inmates must have six months of clear conduct (no write-ups for getting in a fight or in any way breaking prison rules); have a high school diploma or GED; have a good institutional work history; have at least two years left on their sentence; and can't have committed any kind of sex crime or have abused animals or children. e perks, other than living with a companion, include having a single cell. Angela Howard, the program coordinator at the prison, weeds out applicants, looking for cleanliness and social skills. Out of the current 980 inmates, she estimates that she has 50 applications. We're in the visitor's area, where I meet Johnson and three other inmates with their temporary dogs. ere's Apollo, who greets me with his chin on my leg, with Michael Johnson; Dunkin, a high-energy black Labrador/pit mix who came in five days ago, with Doug Hall; and Brixx with kyhumane.org derbycityvet.com Derby City Mobile Vet provides a veterinary hospital on wheels arriving at your site- whether its your home, apartment, barn, or workplace! Dr. Brigette Dean-Hines and staff accommodate to not only your pet's needs, but also yours too. Our well-equipped clinic on wheels allows disease prevention, diagnosis, and management much easier on the whole family. Our family practice model is a priority, alongside offering the best of care to your well-loved and adored furry family members. On site diagnostics include an array of lab work, xray, therapeutic laser and ultrasound. Derby City Mobile Vet (502) 758-5558 | derbycityvet.com (502) 758-5558 | derbycityvet.com d e r b y c i t y v e t . c o m