Corrections.com - Joining thousands of exotic dog breeds and popular poodles at this year’s National Dog Show will be a Staffordshire terrier mix that did some hard time. Vivian Peyton – a graduate of the New Leash on Life rescue program – will be honored as one of the Purina Therapy Dog Ambassadors at the National Dog Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center on Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18.
Formerly used as a bait dog and rescued by New Leash on Life at the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia, Vivian Peyton spent three months completing a prison dog-training program at the Philadelphia Prison System.
The pilot takes dogs that weren’t being adopted in the city’s shelters because of health or behavioral problems and boards them in a prison complex, where inmates then spend as much time with them as needed to train and better socialize them in preparation for adoption. It literally gives the dogs “a new leash on life” – and the inmates too, who are then eligible for training and job assistance working with animals after their release from prison.
Vivian was at-risk twice before being rescued, taken to a city shelter and ultimately given a second chance. When she arrived, she was wounded, severely underweight and apprehensive around people. But within days, the “TLC” offered by the paid staff and inmates helped Vivian relax and her true personality started to show.
After passing her Canine Good Citizen Test in the prison, Vivian was adopted by Michele Pich, a Veterinary Grief Counselor at PennVet, where she comforts grieving pet lovers and visits children at the Ronald McDonald House.
“We are incredibly proud of Vivian Peyton for showing the resiliency of animals and what can be accomplished with love and care,” said Marian V. Marchese, the founder of New Leash on Life. “She will always be New Leash on Life’s ambassador dog.”
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