Notes From the Field: Prison Paws and Animal Testing

Ellie poses with Marty and Eddie after their visit to the Prison Paws program.

By: Ellie Hansen

Today I was once again invited to be a speaker at the Montana Women’s Prison for the inmates who are part of the Prison Paws Program. This time I was accompanied by my two beagles Marty and Eddie. We were invited to help educate the ladies on the issues of animal testing.

As you may know, Marty and Eddie are both rescues from laboratory research. Marty was used for pharmaceutical drug research for six years, and Eddie was used for some sort of food chemical research for eight years. They are both my inspiration every day to instill general awareness on the cruelty of animal testing and the importance of purchasing cruelty-free products.

I believe wholeheartedly that we can all make a difference—no matter where we are in our lives.

As I watched Marty and Eddie interact with the prisoners, I was overcome with compassion. Each of my dogs settled next to someone in the room for a while, sometimes sitting quietly, other moments laying at their feet. I had never taken Marty or Eddie with me for a presentation before and I was not sure how they were going to do. I was pleasantly surprised how calm and giving Marty and Eddie were. Perhaps they could sense a good energy in the room. I know I certainly do when I visit with this group of ladies.

Having a deep love of animals is very healing. This love can get you through some of the hardest, loneliest times of your life. Just knowing that you can do something to help animals can be a shining light in your life.

The prisoners pledged to write letters to our legislators on the issue of animal testing, and to spread the word to friends and family about buying cruelty-free products. I felt like I was sitting with a group of my friends. In a moment of time this was true…for today Marty, Eddie and I were joined together with the women of Prison Paws for the common cause of finding an end to animal testing.