A new bond is starting to blossom at the Lake County Center for Juveniles.
Imprisoned teenagers are training and helping shelter dogs to make them more obedient. This initiative would not have seen the light without the help of Thomas Stefaniak Jr. (Judge)who’s hell-bent to do something to improve the lives of these teenagers.
At this Juvenile Center, you can easily locate Mr. Thomas Stefaniak Jr. strolling the campus with his pet dog.
The dog is named “Moxie”, an American Mastiff who provides soothing comfort and calmness to kids in unfamiliar and tense situations.
Moxie is famous for her attitude. Inmates of this center consider Moxie as a motivational icon. In recent times, the now unofficial dog of the Lake County Center is having company and cooperation in puppies coming all the way from “Humane Indiana.”
According to shelter director, Petalas-Hernandez, “We suddenly came up with this idea and immediately contacted the judge for his support.”
Petalas says she knew of the programs that deal with adult prisoners, however, but did not have any idea that motivates at-risk youth.
After meeting the judge Stefaniak Jr. she wanted to change that.
The judge said, “Cool, let’s implement it straight away. And it’s been splendid.”
Now every Sunday, shelter volunteers at Humane visit the Center.
The information sharing happens both ways.
Even the kids learn a thing or two.
The kids are taught positive reinforcement, clicker training, humane handling, and basic dog body language.
According to the reports, some kids are so successful that the shelter wants to employ them.
The judge believes, “ The program ignites change and helps them understand that it’s never too late to lead a clean, and happy life.”
He further went on to say, “ We are also happy for the kids at the Center because we want to help them. We wish they all don’t become hard-core criminals later in life.”