After enduring a difficult start to life, this sweet pittie-girl not only received a second chance at life...but she gave one too.
With a name like Shortcake and a face just as sweet...you wonder how anyone could ever cause harm to such a loveable dog. But unfortunately, that is exactly what someone did.
When she was surrendered to ACCT Philadelphia, Shortcake had suffered severe blunt force trauma to her head.
The trauma caused multiple slipped discs and permanent nerve damage in her neck. As a result, Shortcake has a noticeable wobble to her walk.
Add on having been extremely overbred, her ears roughly cropped, and untreated ear infections to the list of the abuse and neglect she endured earlier in life.
Yet, besides her wobble walk and other physical signs, you would never guess that such a happy and loving dog had suffered through anything at all. Even when she spent time behind bars.
Wobbling her way around the prison yard with her crew, it’s no doubt that miss Shortcake made a lasting impression on everyone she met. And that’s exactly what she was sent there to do.
As a 2019 graduate of the New Leash On Life USA signature Second Chance Program, Shortcake lived 24/7 in the cell blocks with inmates of a Pennsylvania prison.
Caring for her and 4 other canine classmates allows inmates to learn job-related skills, increasing their odds of obtaining employment on parole. Seeing as how unemployment dramatically increases the likelihood of returning to prison, programs like New Leash on Life are vital to decreasing recidivism.
This program doesn’t only benefit the inmates...but the dogs as well.
Recidivism is the tendency of a person to relapse into criminal behavior after being released from prison.
The inmate training program saves the lives of shelter dogs at-risk of euthanasia by placing them in a Pennsylvania correctional facility with inmates taught to train and socialize them to be successfully adopted into forever homes.
Throughout 12 weeks, inmates are taught how to train and socialize the dogs that are chosen to live with them. Under the care of inmates, dogs that were cast aside and deemed unadoptable are rehabilitated to find loving, forever homes.
Other people within the prison facility benefit from the training program, too.
With just their presence alone, the dogs decrease the overall aggression, anxiety, depression, and blood pressure throughout the prison facility.
They help to alleviate tensions between correctional officers and inmates as they are training the dogs. Thus, resulting in the correctional officers having a safer and more positive place of work.
Speaking of being positive places...that’s precisely where our friend Shortcake is these days.
Immediately upon graduating from New Leash on Life’s 12-week training program, Shortcake was adopted by a loving couple who go above and beyond to give her the life she deserves.
Given her health conditions due to how she was treated earlier in life, that’s a bigger commitment than many people are willing to take on. Upon first bringing their lil ‘Cake home, she could barely walk more than half a block.
Stairs weren’t possible, so her new Mom and Dad did what any parents would do. They carried their precious cargo upstairs to go to bed, back down when she needed to potty, and back up again to go to bed.
However many times she needed to go down or go back up, Shortcake’s parents were there. They were happy to have such a sweet, loving dog join their family.
Although she was always friendly and interested in her new Mom and Dad, snuggling and affection weren’t on the table. This didn’t bother them, though. They knew it wouldn’t be that way forever.
They were, however, concerned when they began noticing how Shortcake wasn’t the best listener and displayed another unsettling behavior.
A visit with her veterinarian revealed that Shortcake was almost completely deaf. All of those untreated ear infections and the horrible ear cropping from her past are the likely culprits of causing Shortcake to lose her hearing so soon.
Armed with this new knowledge, the two began to include sign language into Shortcake’s training. They also figured out a system that began to soothe her separation anxiety.
As time went by, Shortcake began to lower her walls. She gradually became more and more affectionate towards her Mom and Dad.
Naps once preferred alone on the floor began to migrate closer to them…
Nowadays, Shortcake isn’t happy unless she is snuggled up as close as possible to her loving owners. And she continues to surpass all expectations they had for her.
Today, Shortcake is able to run, walk up and down the stairs, and can even jump up on the couch on her own. Actions her parents never thought she would be capable of performing!
Not letting her loss of hearing slow things down, Shortcake graduated from another dog training program in Delaware. She’s also been the representative for her alma mater, New Leash on Life Second Chance Program.
And as if that wasn’t impressive enough...Shortcake has been the guest of honor at a statewide charity golf tournament!
If her story teaches us anything...it’s that no one’s future should be defined by their past.
Follow Shortcake loving life on Instagram @snortcake_
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