Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Puppies Behind Bars helps inmates, veterans

Puppies Behind Bars is a great program that allows inmates to train puppies to be service animals. The dogs get the chance to help the people in prison learn about responsibility along the way. A lot of what I read about service dogs doesn't tell this part of the story. Training a puppy to become a service dog is a lot of work, and it is very rewarding for a family doing it, but it is amazing that this work can also help to rehabilitate prisoners.

This story on NPR tells the whole story: from the founder of Puppies Behind Bars, a former inmate trainer that now works for Puppies Behind Bars, and a veteran that now has a service dog that is a graduate from Puppies Behind Bars. If you have time, click "listen" to hear the whole story--it is a 40 minute program on Fresh Air.

I first wrote about Puppies Behind Bars when one of their pups and his veteran were featured in the Wall Street Journal. Programs like this have been gaining attention and there is a bipartisan bill pending Congress that would fund a pilot program where the VA would partner with non-profit organizations like Puppies Behind Bars to provide service dogs to our veterans. Earlier this summer I wrote about Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) introducing this bill.

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