Dog with inmate trainers

The idea of teaching inmates to train dogs was pioneered over 30 years ago, when Sister Pauline Quinn founded the nonprofit Pathways to Hope in 1985. The first program started in Washington State and has now spread to more than 200 facilities across the country. Everyone involved has benefited, and the process has helped transform inmates into responsible community members.

We built upon these successes and, in 2007, launched one of the nation’s first juvenile ward programs at the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility. The program at OC Probation started in 2009 and was the first in the state of California involving juvenile ward trainers. Our program at James A. Musick Facility has been active since 2013.

We began using the Cell Dogs name in 2014 to distinguish our program from other activities at Pathways to Hope. To further simplify, our nonprofit was officially renamed Cell Dogs, Inc. in 2017 with the sole focus of running shelter dog training programs.