Reading this NY Times article on pairing prison inmates up with bomb-sniffing dogs in training, it is hard not to be struck by the reciprocity. Everybody is getting something positive. The inmates give the dogs loads of attention and training, and show higher morale with a “virtually nonexistent” incident rate. The dogs show more maturity and greater endurance. Everybody gets something out of it, and not just on a practical level: inmates receive experience as responsible citizens, perhaps a sense of atonement, while, if you follow the M.R.I. results, the dogs perceive much of the experience — at least the learned odor portion — as one giant reward!
As inspiring as programs like this are, they are but one of the many ways humans and animals make each other stronger, happier — or just plain better every day. I know it’s the end of the week and brains are tired, but how many can you think of off the top of your head?