Chihuahua Whose Human Died Gets Inmates as New Parents

Chiller goes from orphaned dog, to top dog in prison’s dog training program.

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Do not adjust your computer or phone screen, you are absolutely reading that correctly.  Chiller unfortunately lost his previous human when they passed away.  However, Chiller has a new home with some people that really love him.  They just happen to be inmates at the California City Correctional Facility.


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Chiller was rescued after his last human passed away.  With no other family members to take care of him, he had to go to a shelter.  Being that he’s an older dog, it may have been difficult to find him a forever home.  Once the new manager for the city correctional facility’s new canines and inmates rehabilitation program, they knew he was the dog for them.


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You wouldn’t be remiss in thinking that no one in the prison would be caught dead walking an elderly little Chihuahua around the yard.  While we couldn’t blame you for your thinking, you’d be dead wrong.  In fact, he’s just about the single most popular person in the entire facility.


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“They all want more masculine dogs,” said Zach Skow.  Skow is the founder of Marley’s Mutts, a rescue group working with the inmates as well.  “It’s really cool to see them with Chiller.”


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The program is titled Marley’s Mutts Positive Change Prison Program.  It’s all a big effort to curb the rate of recidivism amongst the prison population.  The in mates benefit from this program by teaching them both live skills, and also skills that would relate to finding a job once released for jail.  However the inmates aren’t the only ones getting something out of these sessions.  These dogs are all rescues that needed homes and love and attention as well.


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That love and attention is really benefiting Chiller a lot right now.  Before his human took his own life, Chiller was never more than a few feet away from him.  So when the police found his human’s body, Chiller was standing right there next to him, never wanting to be separated from his single favorite person in the world.


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This program was perfect for Chiller, because of his timid nature.  He gets very anxious quickly, and being in a kennel with all of those unfamiliar dogs and smells would have been hell for the poor little guy.  So getting into the prison program has been great.  The situation doesn’t seem to scare him half as bad, and he’s really coming around, and becoming friendlier every day.


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41 thoughts on “Chihuahua Whose Human Died Gets Inmates as New Parents

  1. Glad inmate training programs are being adopted all over. It gives the inmates a sense of purpose and someone to care about. They need it.

  2. I just wish this became the national norm!!! ALL prisons (where safe for the animal, of course) helping their local kill shelters!!! The science is there! It is PROVEN to be mutually beneficial for the animals, the prisoners, AND the guards, as it also seems to help bring down the tension and violence

  3. WTH…..Are you people serious……this is absurd….!!!!!!! animals don’t belong in prison.. :'( .!!! they belong with humans in a loving home… & prisoners are in jail for a reason…. free this adorable chihuahua… now!!! boycott

    1. I am a correctional officer at this facility and though I was skeptical about this program at first, I am all in favor of it now. These animals all come from high-kill shelters so there really is nothing to lose here. However, I can tell you first hand that I really admire the progress the inmates have made with these animals. Then again, they have the time to invest whereas most people do not. The dog’s/inmate’s schedules are closely regulated and it is a busy day for both. Believe me, I much rather have these guys spending their days training these animals rather than making weapons in their cell. Rather than walking the Green Mile, these dogs will all get a second chance. There is not one of them I wouldn’t welcome into my home.. However, Chiller is an exceptionally special little guy. He is confident, quiet, loving, playful, and very obedient. Whoever adopts him will be very lucky. As far as your concerns about this program go, these inmates are saving lives and repaying society some of what they owe. A win-win for everyone the way I see it.

    2. This is a 12 week training program, not a permanent living arrangement. All the dogs come from high kill shelters where they had little chance of being adopted. The dogs are socialized and trained by carefully screened inmates who also greatly benefit from the program. At the end of their training the dogs are adopted into private homes through the rescue running the program. This type of program is proving very successful and just a quick search shows similar programs already existing in California, Maine, Massachusetts, , Oklahoma, New York, Washington, Florida, Colorado, Georgia and Ohio.

  4. I love inmate training programs, we had a huge program where I used to live in North Carolina. No loosers, only winners & heart healing.

  5. I’m not surprised. It seems these guys (include truckers) always say they want a big masculine dog. But put a little one in front of them, and they melt ☺

  6. Hello, did I ask for your opinion people…..I dont think so… keep scrolling…btw the comment was to life with dogs.. m.y.o.b.

  7. As long as they are loved and cared for (and maybe even a little spoiled), then I don’t see a problem. These dogs deserve a second chance & if it should happen to be with an inmate who is willing to step up, do the work, and show a dog how to love again, then I’m all for it.

  8. I’ve read of programs like this. The pups really are loved, and the inmates learn responsibility and do a great job with the dogs. The dogs are all shelter dogs too so it saves lives.

  9. Dogs have a calming effect on humans in general … and they offer unconditional love to those that treat them well – this is wonderful to see that inmates can do so well with them .. I just wish that we wouldn’t incarcerate so many of our non-violent offenders – prison is not the answer for all crime

  10. So, now this precious baby has to live behind bars with convicts and violence. That is horrible would you want your children living there no of course not so, this precious baby shouldn’t either. He’s living with murderers, and god knows what else most of these people have probably hurt animals sometime in there life. This was a horrible decision there were plenty other options. Any animal having to live this way is wrong, horrible and disgusting and frankly pisses my off that anyone would put this precious baby or any other animal in this environment.

    1. The inmates training these dogs are all minimum to medium security. They were all carefully screened and had to go through an application/approval process before being accepted into the program. All the inmates involved in this program have release dates meaning that within just a couple short years, they will be returned to society. One of them may end up being your neighbor. This program is helping these men gain a sense of responsibility; something they haven’t had for years. Now let me ask you, would you rather have these men released bitter and angry with no skills or sense of purpose whatsoever? Not me. I work with this program on a daily basis and I also know people. To be honest, based on your attitude, I am more comfortable with these animals being around inmates than I would be with the likes of you. Just saying.

  11. for those who made Asinine, moron comments…… on my comment,… get a life………btw, again, animals belong in a home, not prison.!!!!!…..what a bunch of………bullies……..ugh, horrible people out there…goodbye~~~~~~

  12. Why is it that I see things like this ( dogs for inmates) only in California? Why doesn’t any other states do it? Apparently, it must work to some degree, bc I’m seeing it more and more out there..

  13. The rescued animal gets a home ( it’s loved, cared for, and prison officials aren’t going to allow anything to happen to the dogs, the inmate learns responsibility, and I’m quite sure there are requirements that are needed and put in place before an inmate even gets anywhere near the animal)
    So stop trippin and are you gonna adopt all these animals?? Just askin…

  14. Let me give you guys a lesson on human behavior since it’s fucking apparent you know fuck all.

    Most people get thrown into jail for mundane shit, like theft, or gang/drug related crimes. Most of these people are in fact good people, but picked a dark path either out of necessity, or through a series of bad choices. Whatever the case may be, these people shouldn’t get the hate that they get because of actual shitty people. Pedophiles, murderers, rapists. You know the kind of cold blooded mother fuckers, I’m talking about.

    Now how many of you know what it means to have your humanity taken away from you? I, for one, know what this feels like and let me tell you it’s not a good feeling. You stop caring about behavior that is wrong, because “why should I care about you, when I’m a monster?”. By actively shunning inmates, especially low violence inmates, we are creating high violence criminals. Sometimes all a person needs is a loving tough, and some kindness.

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