Great Mates Prison Program: Breeze's Story

When greyhound Breeze entered the Great Mates Prison Program at Rimutaka Prison he was a typical former racing greyhound. He was healthy and well looked after, but perhaps a little naive on how to handle stairs and glass doors. During his racing years, he had never encountered tiles, elevators or living room furniture either.

The Great Mates Prison Program created the perfect place for him to transition from his old working life to being ready for adoption. To be included in this brand-new initiative, Breeze, already three years old, had to show he could learn new tricks. Once accepted, he began an eight-week process of learning basic obedience and new skills to set him up for his forever home. His handler foster carer was a prisoner from the Special Treatment Unit at Rimutaka Prison, who was specially selected for Great Mates.

As Breeze and his handler progressed throughout the eight weeks, a change began to emerge in both. The prisoner was able to practice things he was learning in therapeutic courses and then apply these to caring for Breeze. Some prisoners in the program hadn’t had contact with an animal in many years and the change in them was remarkable. And as for Breeze, he was learning to navigate around coffee tables, how to walk on a lead and how to sit or go down on cue, things that are requisite for most mature-dog adopters.

The program didn’t come without hurdles. Breeze came in as a confident dog, wanting to lead and pull his handler along on walks. It took a bit of training and effort from his handler to break Breeze of this habit. Together they worked with Breeze’s confidence and taught him restraint on the lead.

At the end of the eight weeks, Breeze and his handler were both recognised at a small ceremony at the prison. Both were awarded certificates for their work and progress in the Great Mates Prison Program and they also received DogsNZ Canine Good Basics Certificates. His handler said about Breeze after the program finished and tearful goodbyes were said, “Breeze is a playful, loving and happy dog and loves cuddles and being around people. If I could keep him I would, and I believe he should go to a good home.” Breeze is still looking for that good home today. If you or anyone you know might be interested in adopting Breeze, you can enquire about him at He is also on Trade Me here.


Posted on 22/11/2018 1:49:49 PM

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