NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Some Nashville inmates are participating in a special program offered by the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office as they help train puppies from Proverbs 12:10, an animal rescue that is all about second chances.
Proverbs 12:10 is a Bible verse that reads, “A wise man is kind to his animals.” It’s a scripture that the rescue’s founders, Savannah and LaVonne Redferrin, believe with all of their hearts and ultimately decided on as the name of their nonprofit that started in 2006.
“We try our best to take those [animals] that might not necessarily get that second look at the shelter,” explained Savannah. “So many people don’t have time for the puppy as far as housebreaking and teaching them not to chew and whatever else. We are very blessed that we can offer a wide variety of animals, especially for those older ones that might not get the chance at the shelter.”
The group also takes in abandoned and neglected animals, including seven puppies that are currently spending time with a select group of women inmates in Davidson County.
“These puppies are a blessing, they truly are,” said inmate Sherry Nivens. “They’re inspiration. They give us hope and give us something to do.”
Inmates like Sherry are training the puppies for a month as part of the Second Chance program at the sheriff’s office.
“They love the puppies. It does something for them,” said Program Director Shelia Stinson. “They wake up in the morning, they get to play with them and interact with them. They live for it. They love it.”
The partnership with the sheriff’s office began just a month ago, but Sheriff Daron Hall said he was introduced to the idea of animals in his facilities back in 1993 after spending a year in Australia.
“I remember waking up from the jet lag and saw that every cell in that prison had an animal in it,” Hall recalled. “I asked the warden, ‘What in the world are you doing?’ He said, ‘We’re trying to teach them responsibility and these animals provide the inmates with the opportunity to learn and work with them.”
So far it’s a winning partnership for both the inmates and Proverbs 12:10.
“For us, it’s really therapeutic. It teaches us empathy and patience,” inmate Takiyah Mannie said. “We really like to work with the dogs.”
Sheriff Hall added that he has already seen the benefits of the Second Chance program.
“Often times, that individual sees something going on with the animal that allows them to feel like they’re being a better person, and that’s our goal,” he explained. “Ultimately, everybody in this system – the corrections side of it – is going home. We want that person better prepared to live in this community, and what better way to do that then to allow them to have some love and care for another person and animal? That’s that we’re doing.”
Proverbs 12:10 also has a Hospice program for dogs that come in with limited time, but they still have quality of life.
The group takes care of all the dogs’ medical needs and expenses and says many times, foster homes are the only love the animals have known.