By Makenzie O’Keefe

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The Jefferson County Sheriff, dressed as Santa Claus, delivered the gift of comfort to dogs in a shelter on Wednesday morning.

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It is part of a program that helps teach inmates a unique skill.

(credit: CBS)

In true Santa Claus fashion, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader made a big donation to the Foothills Animal Shelter. Deputies brought over a dozen beds for dogs who are looking for their forever homes.

However, they aren’t your typical dog beds.

(credit: CBS)

This is all part of a new program that began in September. It has allowed the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to find a way to repurpose jail uniforms, while also giving inmates a sense of purpose.

Inmates are taking old or unusable uniforms and linens, and are learning how to sew them into pet beds. Through this program, more than 50 beds have been made and donated to local animal shelters and rescue facilities.

(credit: CBS)

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Shrader said it not only teaches inmates how to sew, but it provides other valuable life skills.

“To have somebody in jail being productive and having responsibility, showing diligence and work ethic, it’s those things that we need in opportunities for inmates,” explained Shrader.

Foothills Animal Shelter said this also helps create comfort for pets who have been lost, neglected or homeless.

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“We see a wide variety of animals and we want them here to be well-fed, exercised and most of all comfortable,” explained Richard Eveleigh, the Executive Director of Foothills Animal Shelter. “That’s why these beds are so important.”

Eveleigh said this partnership is essential in keeping their animals happy and healthy.

(credit: CBS)

The program director said that the inmates really look forward to this program and sewing the beds every day for the pups.

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Makenzie O’Keefe joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2017. Read her bio, follow her on Twitter at @makenziepokeefe or email her your story ideas.