Sister Pauline Quinn says it was a German shepherd who saved her life.
After running away from an abusive home and being shuffled between different institutions throughout her adolescence, Quinn was released onto the streets at age 18.
Quinn would visit dogs in kennels as a way to cope with her mistreatment. When she eventually adopted a German shepherd named Joni, everything began to turn around.
With the confidence Joni gave her, Quinn started thinking about how she could use dogs to help other people who were suffering. She couldn’t afford to take her own dogs to dog-training classes, but trainers allowed her to sit in on their classes and observe what they were doing. In 1981, after years of self study, she teamed up with Leo K. Bustad, the dean of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to launch the first-ever Prison Pet Partnership.
The program operated out of the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) and paired previously homeless dogs with inmates who trained them as service animals to help veterans and others suffering from trauma.
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