Waylon: Employee Pet Spotlight

By: Jill Merrill, Client Care Team

The first time I saw Waylon his name was Riley (which is the name of our other dog, who is a Westie), and I fell in love with his scruffy face! Even though I hadn’t adopted him yet, in my mind I had already named him Waylon. I discovered he was adoptable through Animal Haven of Asheville, and he was one of the dogs involved in the ‘A New Leash on Life’ program.

‘A New Leash on Life’ is a program that allows minimum and medium custody state prisons to partner with local animal shelters, animal welfare agencies, and/or private non-profit agencies to train dogs in preparation for their adoption. In turn, the inmates are given a chance to serve the community by training dogs to be well-behaved pets. Selected dogs are placed with inmate trainers in a prison setting for eight to twelve weeks.  The inmates teach basic obedience, house training, and socialization through positive reinforcement and repetition. Dogs are taught to walk on and off the leash, and to respond to basic commands. Waylon was located at the female prison in Swannanoa.

The day I met Waylon, I called my husband, Jared, and told him he had to go to Animal Haven’s website and start the adoption process. Jared and I took Riley to meet Waylon to make sure they would get along, and they were perfect together, like long lost brothers! After our visit, Trina and Barb of Animal Haven made a visit to our home to be sure we would be right for Waylon. They informed us he was graduating from the program in October. 

The day of graduation came and unfortunately I wasn't able to go, but Jared went and got to see all of the things Waylon had learned and met all of the ladies responsible for training and loving him during the time he was in the program. We received a book from Waylon's trainer at the prison, and it had so many sweet pictures and notes from all of the inmates saying how much they loved him and how they would miss him. 

Waylon has been such a sweet boy, and though he has had his moments of being very much a mischievous puppy, we love him and can't imagine not having him in our lives. I’m so grateful for the love and care the inmates gave Waylon. I enjoy keeping them updated on Waylon’s life with us by sending them pictures and videos of Waylon. I believe I was fated to meet him, and I look forward to many more blessed years with such a wonderful guy!