BATH, N.Y. (WENY) -- It's been almost six weeks since Major first arrived at the Steuben County Jail.
The pitbull mix was one of two dogs from the Hornell Area Humane Society trained through the jail's SPIRIT Dog Program. The program pairs each dog with an inmate, in hopes of readying the dog to be adopted.
"The first day he was very suspicious of people, very shy, not outgoing at all and today every person he meets is a new friend," says Steuben County Sheriff James Allard. "It's amazing to see the progress the inmates and the program have been able to make."
That progress has been so apparent that on Monday, Major officially left the jail and headed home with his new family.
"I instantly fell in love," says Megan White, who has adopted Major. "He was so playful and he listened and he was just so cute. He's a great, great dog."
Over the course of the program, the dogs follow the same regimented schedule as their handlers. But it's not just the dogs proving the program's success.
"You get to see the change in the inmates also in that they're teaching impulse control to the animals and learning it at the same time for them," says Allard. "You see them out with the animals and the dog becomes a part of their family."
The jail expects to bring a new rescue dog in to replace Major within the coming weeks.
The program's second dog, another mix named Ralphie, is still looking for his forever home. You can meet him by contacting the Hornell Area Humane Society at 607-324-1270.