Program helps inmates, dogs pivot to a new life

Photo courtesy of Denise deGarmo-Ritchie
Whitney Byrd trained Chance, who recently achieved the American Kennel Club's “Canine Good Citizen” standard. Chance is available for adoption on the Pivot website.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
When Denise deGarmo-Ritchie's son was murdered nearly three decades ago, her sole comfort was with her three dogs. 
“There's a period when you're in terrific shock, it feels like you're detached from the world. The only place I felt connected was to my animals, my dogs,” she said.
She believes her dogs saved her life. They healed her heart, she said.
Now she's working to share that feeling of connection with incarcerated young people in Ventura County through her new non-profit organization, Pivot, which pairs inmates with shelter dogs.
“It heals your heart. That's what I believe is the core of this program and why this program works,” she said.

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