ABERDEEN, Miss. (WTVA) -- Jamie McNeil takes a look under the hood of a Monroe County patrol car.
Repairing a car is not a strong suit for him, but he does hope to develop a skill he considers even more important — obedience training.
"I'm really looking forward to training. I really like dogs and everything. It's just like people. It wants someone who loves him and take good care of him," McNeil said.
McNeil will soon be united with a dog. Her name is Fionna. Until recently, she was at the Aberdeen Animal Shelter.
She is the first of two dogs selected for a pilot program that unites inmates with shelter dogs.
The Mississippi Young Lawyers Association is partnering with the Mississippi Bar Association with two goals in mind.
"We want to get the animals out of the shelter environment and get them hopefully into a family environment. In addition, we want the inmates to have skills — job skills and work skills — so that when they finish serving their time, they have a valuable skill they can offer to a future employer," attorney Rachel Pierce Waide said.
"Obedience is a good start for them, and I talked to several of them, and most of them seem to like animals. And we're just going to experiment with this and see how it works," professional dog trainer Garry Dodds said.
Back at the shelter, volunteer Dianna Stargel said she is excited for the dogs. There are so many here. Now, some will have an even better chance of placement.
Eventually, shelter dogs may be trained as service animals to the physically and mentally challenged.