Part­ner­ship is re­build­ing lives

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Art -

A PART­NER­SHIP be­tween the Shen­ton Park Dogs Refuge and the Wan­doo Rein­te­gra­tion Fa­cil­ity in Mur­doch is help­ing both pris­on­ers and dogs re­con­nect with the com­mu­nity.

Pris­on­ers at Wan­doo are vol­un­teer­ing at the Dogs Refuge, work­ing along­side staff and other vol­un­teers, pre­par­ing the dogs for re­hom­ing and help­ing with main­te­nance.

Dogs are also taken to the pri­son to help so­cialise them with peo­ple.

Wan­doo direc­tor Wendy Sin­clair said the part­ner­ship pro­vided sig­nif­i­cant benefits to the pris­on­ers.

“The young men make con­nec­tions with the dogs, which in turn helps them to show af­fec­tion,” she said.

“At the same time, they work as a team with other vol­un­teers and staff who help sup­port and teach them, de­vel­op­ing so­cial skills and a work ethic that is im­por­tant for rein­te­gra­tion to so­ci­ety,” Ms Sin­clair said.

Refuge gen­eral manager Judy Flana­gan said the part­ner­ship pro­vided a win­win for both or­gan­i­sa­tions.

For one prisoner, the op­por­tu­nity to vol­un­teer has meant much more than ex­pected.

“There was one time when two ladies were talk­ing to me and I re­alised that when I get out I need to change and work hard and be re­spon­si­ble, which I try and do when I am at the refuge, and work­ing to­wards get­ting my qual­i­fi­ca­tions.”

Rein­te­gra­tion of­fi­cer Roger Jan­tjies with a prisoner and a refuge dog.

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