Last July, a wiggly, fun-loving dog arrived at our shelter. While that might sound like the sort of dog who would be adopted immediately, Mack unfortunately had a few strikes against him from the start. You see, Mack is a pitbull, a breed that faces quite a bit of stereotyping. He’s also big, weighing in at 80 pounds, and very boisterous. This fellow requires a lot of exercise!

However, we remained hopeful that the right family would come along who could see what a nice boy Mack was. We thought he had found his forever home when he was adopted within a few weeks, but he was returned after being attacked by an unleashed dog. Now waiting for his second shot, Mack began deteriorating in the confines of the adoption kennels. Such a friendly, energetic guy needed a lot more attention and a much more active lifestyle than the shelter could offer him.

Luckily, we had the perfect place for Mack to go: the Pen Pals program at San Quentin prison, where he would receive lots of dedicated attention from an inmate working in the prison’s firehouse. In this quieter environment, and with consistent training and lots of one-on-one time, Mack matured and started gaining the skills he’d need to thrive in a new home. Thanks to the work of his handler, Jeremy, Mack improved a little more each day. Jeremy said, “Mack is a great dog. He’s very attentive and interactive, and he’s one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever worked with. It’s been a pleasure to spend time with Mack.”

Eight months after he arrived at the shelter, a potential adopter reached out to us to arrange a meeting. Mack came back to the shelter to show off what a good boy he’d become, and it was love at first sight – Mack had found his new family! Now this sweet, goofy dog has his happy ending and we couldn’t have done it without the dedicated men in our Pen Pals program at San Quentin.