RPSM.Org: What it Means to Me – A Series #2

I was introduced to RPSM.org five years ago when my family adopted Barkley LeRoy and Penelope Louise, “Penny.” My experience was chronicled in my blog post, Writing Their Stories, on March 23, 2016.

The Blogging Owl has been granted permission from Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan to promote their new series, “What it Means to Me.”

Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan

This is the second post in series of reflections from the inmate trainers in their own words on what it meant to them to train a dog rescued by Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan.

Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan

Founded in 2007, RPSM has made a serious effort to effectively aid in the reduction of euthanasia rates at many animal shelters. In 2008, the RPSM Correctional Companion Program began. In a partnership with the Coldwater Prison Complex, RPSM endeavors to find homes for dogs in shelters that would otherwise be euthanized. Dogs selected for the Companion Program are carefully screened for temperament, trainability, and adaptability. They are fully vaccinated, spayed or neutered prior to enrollment in the program. Once they arrive at the complex, they are assigned to specially trained inmates who are responsible for their training and day to day care. Upon completion of the program, the dogs are ready to receive a canine good citizen certificate (CGC) and available for adoption in an approved home.

RPSM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are 100% donation driven. Any donations to RPSM are always 100% tax deductible. A weekly or monthly donation to RPSM provides a consistent & dependable income to fund our ongoing efforts. Non-monetary items such as flea and tick preventative, heart worm preventative, dog shampoo, fund raiser items, and more are always welcomed.


A Maltese named Quartz/Finnegan

To me, RPSM is a place that has taken love to a whole new level. The love and compassion that I see in the RPSM reps for these dogs cannot be compared to any other place. They are a living example as to how to treat dogs. RPSM means a lot to me because I care about the dogs also and to know that there is a place that loves dogs and understand that they are living creatures with a lot of love to give, does my heart good.

My outlook on rescue dogs was, they must have done something wrong or they are out of control. Because of RPSM my outlook has changed. I see now that these dogs are not out of control and didn’t do anything they wasn’t shown how to do. Most of the dogs have been mistreated and abandoned, some have been left for dead. I have so much compassion for these dogs now, because RPSM has been the front runner on compassion in my eyes. Because of their leadership in caring for dogs that nobody wanted I understand that every dog has something to offer.

I’m from a place where all I grew up around was pit bulls, Rots and boxers, and they were all big. So, I believed that the best dogs were only the big dogs, so when I became a dog trainer these are the only kinda dogs I wanted. Then I got a dog named Bandit. When I first got Bandit, he was very skittish to the point we couldn’t even walk him because he was always looking behind him. He would get so scared of the loud noises that he would sometime pee and tuck his tail and run to a safe place. He didn’t like to meet anybody new or go into common-areas where a lot of people was, he would shut down. A dog like this tried our patience, but we remembered that Bandit had been abused. So, we took our time with his fear issues and became one of the more confident dogs and got adopted and is living happily with his family.

I’m a pretty, big guy and I work out a lot, so I love the big macho dogs. When I got a little dog named Quartz/Finnegan this was a Maltese and weighed in at 19 pounds soaking wet. When I first got him I was feeling a little uneasy because of the size of the dog. But when I got him and let my guard down, he was so lovable that I fell in love with him and he used to get so excited to see me, wagging his tail and trying to jump up.

Changing lives, changing hearts

He made me feel loved. He would sleep in the bed with me and always wake me up with kisses. He was my best friend. I’m not ashamed to admit that when Quarts/Finnegan left me I cried like a baby. I couldn’t believe that I was crying like that over a dog. I missed him instantly. He had got sick while he was with me and I gave him all his meds and the baths he needed. The funny thing was, he really trusted me because I was the only one who he would allow to give him his meds.

Quartz/Finnegan changed my heart to allow me to love all dogs no matter their size or breed. That’s my little buddy and I miss him very much. But he is doing well in his new home and he even has another dog to play with. Because of Quartz/Finnegan it doesn’t matter to me whether I work with a small dog or a great Dane, all dogs have love to give so I’m going to give it right back.

Written by Quartz/Finnigan’s Trainer

Ways Readers Can Help

The Prison Companion Program has given a second chance to over 500 dogs that would have otherwise be euthanized. We need your help to continue fulfilling our mission of saving these dogs that deserve a second chance! RPSM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization running solely on donations. Any donations to RPSM are deductible on your federal tax return. A weekly or monthly donation to RPSM provides a consistent & dependable income to fund our ongoing efforts of saving animals.

Please visit Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan’s website at www.rpsm.org for more ways you can donate and become involved in giving hope not only to the pets RPSM rescues but to all the lives these wonderful pets touch.



Purchase yours today to build awareness for the Correctional Companion Program and rescue efforts of Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan. Purchase Link: RPSM Vehicle Magnet for sale on Etsy!

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