BURLINGAME (CBS SF) — Four dogs graduated Friday afternoon from a Burlingame-based shelter program that helps them get adopted and makes jail inmates’ time behind bars a little easier to bear, officials with the Peninsula Humane Society & Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.

The Transitioning Animals Into Loving Situations program matches minimum-security inmates with shelter dogs every eight weeks, according to the human society.

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Every Friday, a human society trainer conducted a class for the inmates caring for the dogs, according to shelter officials.

Outside of class the inmates did homework by teaching the dogs obedience, introducing the dogs to other inmates, grooming, exercising, cleaning and caring for the dog’s overall well being, shelter officials said.

The dogs also went on play dates with other dogs in the program, according to shelter officials.

Since the program began in 2009, 72 dogs have graduated, shelter officials said.

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Two dogs, Picasso and Spreckles, graduated Friday and left with their new families after the ceremony at 2 p.m. at PHS/SPCA’s Center for Compassion at 1450 Rollins Road. Another two one-year-old female Chihuahuas who graduated from the program are now ready for adoption, shelter officials said.

Prospective adopters can inquire about the dogs, Toy and Spice, by calling the PHS/SPCA’s Behavior & Training Director Maria Eguren.

Shelter officials said they are recommending Toy for a home with only adults.

At Friday’s graduation event one inmate spoke about how the program taught him how to love again, Peninsula Humane Society spokesman Scott Delucchi said.

“That’s never expected,” he said of the inmate, who did not rehearse his words before the event.

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