Who We Are
A New Leash on Life Inc. is about people helping people by utilizing the special abilities of the dogs we train for specific purposes. Our Service Dog and Therapy Dog training programs help Oklahomans with a variety of special needs live more independently, develop confidence and improve their abilities. Our Companion Dog program benefits the inmates who train them, the people who adopt them and the dogs themselves, who might otherwise remain unadopted.
Our story began when Barbara Lewis received a simple request from CCA-Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville, Oklahoma to set up a dog-training program using inmates as trainers. Similar programs proved that inmates became more patient, tolerant and cooperative through the close association and bonds formed while training their dogs.
Lewis, an experienced dog trainer and an Oklahoma Field Agent for a national Service Dog training agency, gathered a few volunteers, donated equipment and supplies and selected dogs from a rescue group. In December 2004, they began teaching weekly classes to the inmates and dogs.
In June 2005, Lewis left the national Service Dog training agency where she had served for 16 years. The volunteers and Puppy Raisers wanted to continue their contribution to the Service Dog area, so A New Leash On Life, Inc. was expanded to include Service Dogs. In 2008, the Therapy Dog program was added under the direction of Michelle Traw.
Today, A New Leash on Life, Inc. continues to grow and enrich the quality of people’s lives because of the generous donors and supporters who believe in our mission. Together, we can keep making life better for the many Oklahomans who need our programs and the incredible canines who serve them.