Bowden Institution and Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) have established an inspirational and positive partnership through the creation of the Pet Enrichment Group. This program has impacted the lives of inmates and rescue animals alike by fostering the development of relationships, building connections, and strengthening compassion - all without judgement.
Studies have shown the positive impact that animals have on humans is evidenced by reducing blood-pressure, anxiety, and loneliness, while increasing a connection to another living being. The Pet Enrichment Group aims to create opportunities to increase the emotional well-being of inmates, decrease negative institutional behaviour, and foster a positive learning environment. All of which contribute to a safer institution while building up feelings of self-worth for the participants.
AARCS attends Bowden Institution twice per month – once to the main institution and once to the minimum security unit. There are two sessions per day, with four participants in the morning and four participants in the afternoon. There are two volunteers from AARCS, in addition to one social worker and one psychologist from Bowden Institution who supervise the program. The program is offered to all offenders.