ONE of Port Macquarie Animal Shelter's longest residents has been given a new lease on life after being accepted into a prison rehabilitation program.
Duke has been at the Port Macquarie Animal Shelter since May 1 after a member of the public found him in the Wauchope area and took him to a local vet.
"The vet scanned him for a microchip, but he didn't have one and was brought to the shelter," Port Macquarie Animal Shelter team leader Emmalee Andrew said.
"We had no details about him so we nicknamed him Duke."
The shelter keeps stray animals for eight days while the owner is attempted to be located before they become available for adoption.
"He was in good condition and he had previously been desexed, but unfortunately no one came forward to reclaim him," Emmalee said.
At the time Duke became available for adoption, the shelter had a high number of dogs looking for their forever home and Duke was overlooked.
"We tried to find him a home and we even put him up online on Pet Rescue to see if someone would adopt him from interstate."
Some people from Sydney and Queensland did express interest in Duke, however no one committed to the adoption.
"We even had mayor Peta Pinson visit the shelter and post a video with Duke to try and encourage someone local to adopt him."
A number of locals did visit the shelter and express their interest in Duke.
"Unfortunately Duke isn't suitable to live with other dogs. He's not aggressive, but he did need to go to a home where there weren't any other animals and that deterred a lot of people from adopting him."
After attempting to find Duke a home for a number of weeks, Emmalee reached out to her pet rescue contacts to help.
"The Wodonga Dog Rescue in Victoria work with a prison down there and run a rehabilitation program for dogs and inmates to work together and Duke happened to be the perfect fit for their program."
The 12 week program consists of inmates training the dogs during one on one sessions.
"It's beneficial for inmates because they learn how to train dogs and will see the progress they make with the animal, while the dogs also learn from the experience and will get some love and be able to socialise," Emmalee said.
During the program Duke will be up for adoption and at the end of the 12 weeks he will hopefully find his forever home.
"He very much thrived in a shelter environment. Not a lot of dogs do, but Duke liked the structure and the routine so we think he'll be well suited to his new life in Victoria while he's in the program.
"If he isn't adopted when the program finishes he will stay at the Wodonga Dog Rescue until a suitable owner is found."
Emmalee said everyone at the shelter was glad to see Duke given a second chance.
"We don't have a time limit on keeping animals at the shelter yet, so it's great to see one of our longest residents go off to a new chapter in his life."
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