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A New Leash on Life (NLOL) is a N.C. State prison dog-training program, where both dogs and inmate-trainers get a second chance. At the Forsyth Correctional Center in Winston-Salem, our dogs work with qualifying inmate-trainers for 10 weeks, learning manners and obedience, house and crate training, and basic agility. The dogs are with the men 14 hours a day, and sleep in their comfy kennels in the NLOL building on the prison grounds. After 10 weeks, there’s a festive “graduation” and the dogs go to their forever homes.


Volunteer experts from the Winston-Salem Dog Training Club donate their time and expertise to work with the men and the dogs twice a week. Other volunteers work with the men on daily journals and handle home visits, adoptions and other tasks.

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Changing Men's Lives One Dog At a Time

Dogs can reach the human heart in amazing ways. Both men and dogs experience unconditional love, often for the first time in their lives. Both gain self-confidence and self-control, and learn the value of persistence, patience, and praise.

U.S. State Prison recidivism statistics are discouraging: Nationally, they range from 20 to 65% (World Populations Review); in N.C., between 40-45% (N.C. Justice Center);


Our NLOL program at Forsyth Correctional Center, since its beginning in 2009, thus far has a recidivism rate of 0%. Zero

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Why Adopt a NLOL Dog?

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  • Every year, nearly 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in the U. S. You’re helping save a dog and lower that number.

  • You stop mass breeding facilities (puppy mills) when you don’t go to a breeder for a dog and, instead, support rescue organizations. Mixed breeds are well-rounded, wonderful family pets.

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  • You save a life by making room for one more animal to be rescued.

  • All NLOL dogs are microchipped, vaccinated, spay/neutered, and have 10 weeks of obedience training, house- and crate-training, good socialization, and some agility training.

  • You’re supporting not only animal welfare but also social justice: This program changes lives! Statistics show that the men who successfully complete this program rarely go back to prison. It greatly lowers recidivism rates.

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“Who wouldn’t want a NLOL dog? Our girl Callie came fully trained with perfect recall. We couldn’t ask for a better dog.”   A.T & D.G.


  • Spay/Neuter

  • Rabies Vaccine

  • Distemper/Parvo/Bordetella & Lyme Vaccines

  • Deworming and flea treatment as needed

  • Heartworm test (and treatment as needed)

  • One month of heartworm prevention 

  • Microchip

  • Examination & care by a licensed veterinarian 

  • 10 weeks of training!

Our 12th class will begin on Monday,  April 3. We can't wait. 

Gorgeous Dante (who's been getting extra training) will be back, as will sweet Mellow from our 10th. They'll be joined by Baxter, and... one other. 

Dante-Coming Back!!

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Mellow-Coming Back!

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How it works

In A Nutshell:

Fill out an adoption application and get it to us.

An adoption counselor will contact you to discuss your interest. If it seems a good fit, you can meet the dog and the trainer at the prison before making your final decision. When the dog completes his or her ten-week session, it’s adoption time!

  • When your application has been approved and your references have been checked, we setup a home visit. 

  • When that’s completed and everyone decides this is a good fit, we’ll schedule a time for you to come to the prison and meet the dog that’s caught your eye. You’ll get to spend around 45 minutes with the dog, its trainer, a prison staff member, and a PAWAlliance representative. You can interact, ask questions, and really get to know the dog. If you have another dog, we’ll ask you to bring him/her along, so we can see how they might interact.

  • If you decide that “yes, this is the dog!” we’ll ask for your commitment, and we’ll take your pup off the available list and label her/him “Adoption Pending.”

  • When your dog’s 10 weeks of training are completed, you’ll come to our graduation ceremony, enjoy a casual, quick meal with trainers, prison staff, and PAWAlliance volunteers. You’ll again have a chance to ask the trainers and instructors any questions, and at that time, you’ll receive the available vet records, finish the paperwork, pay the adoption fee and get the inmate-trainer’s daily journal that describes the 10 weeks of care and training your dog has received. This journal is a wonderful resource!

We had a wonderful December graduation! Thanks to all who came. Our next class will start on January 9th. Stay tuned.

Check us out on social media for frequent updates.

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