Since 1993

Friends for Folks & the Power of Hope

The Friends for Folks inmate dog-training program is about restoring hope for people & animals, and developing skills that will help them in the future.

This program provides an excellent opportunity for hope to be restored and behavioral skills to be developed. The work that Friends for Folks does positively impacts the futures of the animals and the people who participate in the program.

This program gives Oklahoma inmates the opportunity to give back to the community by training abandoned dogs. Each inmate is paired with an unwanted dog from an Oklahoma animal shelter. Over the course of 11 weeks, each dog is given special attention and instruction by their inmate-trainer. The dogs learn to trust and obey their trainer, and the trainer must teach their dog with patience, provide consistent training commands and remain dependable to the dog’s needs. Each dog that is trained and graduates from this program becomes a well-trained animal companion for someone in Oklahoma to adopt. Many are adopted by senior citizens or families looking for a well-behaved dog companion. Some dogs are selected for further training and eventually become service dogs. These certified service dogs are placed with special needs individuals.

Once a dog graduates from the program, it stands a better chance to be adopted because it is a well-behaved and command trained dog. The inmates who train these animals volunteer their time and efforts to help others. By helping others the inmates themselves are rewarded by knowing they’ve positively impacted the future for other people and animals. Their work with the dogs helps them to become “others-centered,” which can lead renewed hope for their own lives because of the positive impact they have on other people and animals.

The program is a win-win-win for everyone. A win for the “Friends” (dogs), a win for the “Folks” (new owners), and a win for the inmates themselves.

In addition to the inmate dog training program, Friends for Folks supports other Oklahoma non-profits that provide educational resources to Oklahoma children with incarcerated parents.



View Our Friends for Folks Documentaries

OCCC created a film for the Friends for Folks Inmate Dog Training program in their documentary titled, “The Dogs of Lexington” which was featured on OETA. Subsequently, with the opening of the inmate dog training center at Mabel Basset Correctional Facility, a new documentary entitled “Bassett Tales” was released in 2015 and shown on OETA in late July. You can view both documentaries below:

Dogs of Lexington 

Bassett Tales 

Animals get a second chance behind the wire . . .

Mable Bassett DOC

Children of Hope