HENDERSON, Texas (KETK) – The Rusk County Commissioners Court announced Thursday they approved the PAWSitive prison dog program which will match at-risk dogs with inmates.

The program includes “intense rehabilitation” with a mission to teach inmates how to cooperate, engage in positive team settings and become aware of the needs of others, according to officials.

“As a result, they have an increase in self-esteem and feelings of social connection,” officials said.

Dogs that are entered into the program experience decreased fear and increased obedience and social behavior with other dogs and people.

“More importantly, PAWSitive Change dogs develop trust of humans and placement with fur-ever families upon completion of their traning,” officials said.

The program was heralded by county officials as a milestone partnership between Henderson Animal Control, Rusk County Pets Alive, Management & Training Corporation and the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.