Sherry Taylor is in charge of the program at the Luther Luckett facility. She said each inmate in the program gets one dog to train and is responsible for that animal until it is adopted.
“Sister Barbara came out and visited all the dogs. I think it’s a wonderful program,” Taylor said. “It gives inmates responsibility. They train the dogs, live with the dogs ... they get attached. They get a lot out of it. It gives them something to care for and they learn along the way.”
Joe is 2 years old and has a hip issue that will have to be medically corrected as he gets older. Taylor said some people don’t want to adopt a dog with physical issues.
Judy Foster, who works with Chelsea’s Legacy, an animal rescue organization, hooked Zeller up with Taylor and the Oldham County Humane Society.
Lisanne Mikan, with the Oldham County Humane Society, said her organization concentrates on its spay and neuter program, but now, thanks to Luther Luckett program, also has an adoption outlet.
“This program put us in the adoption business,” Mikan said. “There is no turning back now.”
Mikan said most of the dogs came from kill shelters.
“We have taken 300 dogs out of a shelter and into a program,” she said. “It’s just a great thing.”
Gladys Courtney, a resident of The Villas, agrees.
“We always had a dog,” she said. “It brightens up the day. It just feels better to have a dog around.”
HOPING FOR MORE
Zeller said she is glad Foster introduced the program to her. She said she always wanted to have dogs at the facility, but was busy taking care of “God’s human creatures” and didn’t have the space. Now she hopes to add more dogs to the Georgetown property, which also includes the Providence House for Children.
She said when she worked at Providence Retirement Home in New Albany, she saw how residents responded to her dog.
“I saw the miracles she [the dog] could do there,” Zeller said.
She said the dogs not only give love to the residents, but also provide friendships to the children and elders who reside there. One of the residents at The Villas, who had suffered a massive stroke, recently was able to tell Joe “I love you.”
“Judy knew I wanted to get the program started and she came up to me one day and said ‘Sister, I know how you can begin,’” she said. “We have only just begun. I was so impressed when I went down to the prison to see the inmates with the dogs. They had so much dignity and respect for each other and their canine friends. It’s a win-win.”