SHA REN, a chow mix, arrived at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in January, 2009, age six weeks. She was a stray in the Mat-Su Valley, rescued during a cold snap and brought to the animal shelter, and then to Hiland Mountain for the cell dog “SPOT” program. At first, Sha Ren did not seem to be a suitable candidate for service training, however at age nine months small but key changes were noticed in her demeanor – mainly an ability to retrieve.
With that willingness, Sha Ren’s inmate trainer to put her through some extra paces, and then she mastered “return and paws” (which means the dog brings objects to its owner at a raised height). Sha Ren learned to pick up keys, return a remote control and other objects, including her own leash. Sha Ren can now open doors for her owner, carry a wide range of objects from paper to metal to plastic without damaging the object. Recently she carried a one pound can of cocoa in a paper bag for ¼ mile without stopping.
Sha Ren is able to assist her new owner including wearing a pack while they are out in the community. She has become adept at staying away from doors and other people’s feet without pulling the owner while all the time maintaining a heel. Sha Ren is task-oriented and excels at companionship and loyalty to her human owner.