Pups and Teen Inmates Alike Benefit From New Rikers Program That Brings Shelter Dogs to the Island

Puppies bring belly rubs to Rikers Island.

Proving once again that dog is man’s best friend, a partnership between New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex and the city’s Animal Care and Control organization provides healing to both dog and man. The special foster program, which allows teen offenders ages 16—17 to care for and train shelter dogs while the dogs await adoption on the outside, teaches the young men responsibility, discipline, affection as well as providing them with much needed love and affection. The foster pups, in turn, get a stable place to call home with grateful and loving caretakers.

Image by Wiki Commons user Computerjoe

The pups are screened and rotated through the program, with new canine participants swapping in when others are adopted. According to The Dodo, Animal Care and Control chooses dogs who they believe would thrive in a bustling, noisy environment. The shelter then readies the pups by playing recordings of gates opening and closing and other “prison noises” ahead of their move.

Teens who would like to be caretakers are also vetted. The application process mirrors a job or school application, with inmates submitting references and going through a series of interviews before being chosen.

Pups and teens attend obedience classes together. Additionally, fellow housing unit members are expected to assist in the grooming and walking of the “house dog.”

The initiative is an excellent example of symbiotic therapy, and is definitely not without precedent. Inmate and at-risk youth dog fostering programs have existed for years now, and are proven to bring comfort to all involved, furry or not.

Climate Action Tracker

In 2016, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to combat climate change by taking action to curb the increase in global temperatures. The Paris Agreement requires countries to report on their emissions and what steps they're taking to implement those plans. Now that the countries are coming together again for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, it's worth taking a look at what kind of progress they've made.

The Climate Action Trackerkeeps tabs on what each country is doing to limit warming, and if they're meeting their self-set goals. Countries are graded based on whether or not their actions would help limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.

According to a recent article from National Geographic, The Gambia, Morocco, and India are at the head of the class. "Even though carbon emissions in The Gambia, Morocco, and India are expected to rise, they'll fall short of exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius limit," the article reads. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, on the other hand, get a big fat F. "Projected emissions in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States are far greater than what it would take to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

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"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

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