PAWS of Purpose:

Lessons in Life Skills for dogs and humans

Animal Farm Foundation and the NYC Department of Correction (DOC) work together to make a positive impact in the lives of dogs and people through the PAWS of Purpose Program at Rikers Island in New York.

about the program

We match eight dogs with two groups of inmates for an 8-week residency at Rikers Correctional Facility. The dogs live with the inmates and receive 24/7 care and attention. A certified professional dog trainer works closely with the PAWS participants to provide the dogs with daily care, companionship, training, and socialization.

The dogs learn basic manners and housetraining during their stay at Rikers.

After graduating from the program the dogs go on to become service dogs, detection dogs, or pet dogs.



With a face like that, Cupcake doesn’t need a bio! She’s too adorable for words! All of the inmates at Rikers have fallen in love with her and she loves them right back! 


Walton likes to sit at the front of the class and is the first to raise his hand. He thinks he is the smartest pup of them all . . . he isn’t, but we don’t plan on crushing this cuddler’s dreams.


Falcon is a calm, confident, bear-sized boy who is as cuddly as his eyes are soulful. He would like to be someone’s personal heating blanket – preferably someone who, like him, has no concept of personal space.


Shazaam is the popular boy who loves to party but is also totally chill. Oh, and he’s super smart – aka he’s *that* guy that’s practically perfect. Nothing bothers him and he’ll be friends with anyone – even if the other popular kids don’t think you’re cool, Shazaam wants to be your BFF.


At six months old, Ralph is a confident kid! He thinks he’s better than avocado toast! We really can’t argue with that. He loves dogs and people and will make an excellent BFF for someone after he graduates PAWS.

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P.O. Box 624
Bangall, NY 12506