Inmates From Florida Jail Help Comfort Shelter Dogs During 4th Of July Fireworks

UNITED STATES - JUNE 30: Bay Correctional Facility inmate Douglas Whitney locks up his dog Cletus after the afternoon training session. This is his fourth dog he's trained in as many years. "It's taught me to respect life," he said. "I'm more patient and caring now than when I came in here."

(Picture Credit: Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The fourth of July holiday always promises a great fun filled day packed with festivities and barbeque. It’s all topped off at the end of the night with a brilliant fireworks display that lights the sky up like a Christmas tree.

It also makes the night sky sound like a thunderstorm is coming. And it’s that same fireworks celebration that might cause your dog to feel anxious and scared.

Dogs often get frightened and anxious due to fireworks and loud noises during 4th of July festivities. But the folks in Brevard County, Florida have a plan in place for those dogs who live in shelters with no one to comfort them.

Inmates from the Brevard County Jail had the opportunity to visit these shelter animals to give them some companionship during the stressful Independence Day celebration.

How Did The Program Come About?

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According to the sheriff’s office at Brevard County, a lot of citizens reached out to them about volunteering to help keep dogs at a local animal care center calm during the fourth of July holiday.

This flow of calls led Sherriff Wayne Ivey to an idea that would help these dogs during the peak of celebrations. He wrote a post on the Brevard County Sheriff’s office Facebook page thanking the citizens for their concern and willingness to volunteer to comfort the dogs at the animal care center.

Sheriff Ivey continued, “While we greatly appreciate the offer of assistance and truly love the fact that our community partners with us to help our homeless pets, our agency has designed a new program that will not only help our dogs but will also help add purpose to the lives of inmates incarcerated at the Brevard County Jail.”

What Does The Program Entail?

The program would send inmates to the Brevard County Animal Care Center during Independence Day to read to the animals, play with them, and feed them treats.

“This will hopefully build and instill a sense of purpose and compassion in the inmates that will hopefully aid them as they transition back into society once they have served their time,” Sheriff Ivey added.

As for the dogs, many come from broken or troubled homes. This intimacy and comfort, especially during the festively loud holiday, would not only ease their anxiety and fear, but it would also help them get reacquainted with humans.

“This program will also help these dogs prepare for when they find their forever home, to feel comfort and reintegrate into that,” Ivey told local news outlets.

The program would transport 15 inmates from the jail to the county shelter. They were sent to keep the dogs company, give them treats, and read them stories during the fireworks celebrations. The inmates even had the chance to use the jail’s ice cream maker to make a healthy sorbet specially for the dogs to have a nice treat.

Reactions To The Program From The Community

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The Facebook post from the Sheriff’s office received more than 1.6k reactions, more than 199 comments, and more than 699 shares, demonstrating the power and support behind the idea.

One user wrote, “One of the best news stories I’ve read in quite a while. We look for ways to help the inmates better establish personal responsibility with a caring attitude and you’ve struck gold………and the dogs win as well.”

Another happy user wrote, “Awesome program! Help the animals and help the inmates! Just another compassionate program from our Sheriff and Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.”

What do you think of these inmates helping comfort dogs during the 4th of July holiday? Does your dog get frightened and anxious during the fireworks? Let us know in the comments below!