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February 2017 Wag

An EPIC Partnership

Service dogs from the Bergin University of Canine Studies, along with inmates at the North County Detention Facility in Santa Rosa, were honored in a special graduation in January 2017. The Educational Program for Inmates and Canines¾known as EPIC¾matches inmates with pups and it’s a win-win situation for all involved. The inmates worked with Bergin University students to train four future service dogs. The dogs learned new skills and inmates learned about patience, unconditional love and acquired dog-training skills. This ceremony marks the third graduating class for EPIC.

How’s the program being received? “Overwhelmingly well,” says Anastasia Pryor, director of development for Bergin University. “The dogs receive training 24/7 for weeks at a time, and inmates learn a new occupational skill that can translate into employment.” What’s more, the sheriff’s staff has noted the pups create a calmer environment at the facility, and there are fewer incidents of behavioral problems among inmates, according to Pryor.

As for the future, Bergin University intends to expand the EPIC program to serve more inmates in Sonoma County. Bergin University of Canine Studies is located in Rohnert Park, and is the only accredited institution in the world solely dedicated to advancing the human-canine partnership.


Healthy Treats for Healthy Dogs

Wagster Treats, a healthy dog biscuit produced by Homeward Bound of Marin, recently launched regional sales with Pet Food Express in 60 stores, making the treats available throughout California. The treats, made by students and graduates at Fresh Starts Culinary Academy, come in three flavors and contain vegan ingredients free of corn, soy and wheat.

Made with human-grade ingredients, the treats are popular with canines. “We get emails from our customers whose dogs have tried them,” says Emma Arnold, office manager of Homeward Bound. “One customer wrote that because her dog loved them so much, she gave 24 bags as holiday gifts to all the dogs in her neighborhood.” Perhaps most surprising is that people also eat the treats. “Humans like them as well,” Arnold says, pausing to laugh.

Wagster Treats can be purchased at independent retailers around the Bay Area including Mt. Tam Dog Co., Mill Valley Market, Pet Cottage and more. All proceeds from Wagster Treats support Homeward Bound’s shelter and job-training programs, while their bakers build employment skills with every batch. What’s more, you can partner with Wagster Treats to sell made-in-Marin dog treats to raise funds for your own cause.



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