How Do the Dogs of Puppies Behind Bars Change Lives?
Puppies Behind Bars is a program which trains inmates to raise Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies to become service dogs for the disabled and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.Puppies Behind Bars is a program that trains inmates to raise Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies to become service dogs for the disabled and explosive detection canines for law enforcement. Recently, www.petside.com visited Otisville Correctional Facility in upstate New York in order to see first hand how these amazing puppies are changing lives inside and outside of the prison walls.
How do the Puppies change the prisoners?
Inmates learn hard work and dedication by becoming a "Puppy Raiser" who cares for the puppies 24/7 throughout the prison environment
Teaches accountability by making the inmate complete two to three months of classroom work before they are eligible to get a puppy of their own
Allows the inmate to give back to society
Provides inmates with love and fidelity, and requires that he or she reciprocate
Nurtures habits and skills that will greatly assist the inmate upon release
How do the Puppies change the life of the disabled person they are placed with?
Help with all aspects of daily life including opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, handling money and credit cards at a grocery store and many other daily tasks
Provides a level of freedom and self-reliance not possible without a service animal
Provides the emotional stability of knowing that assistance is a constant
Nurtures physical and emotional growth while providing unconditional fidelity and love
How do Puppies change the Correctional Facilities where they live for up to two years?
Fosters an atmosphere of teamwork among the inmates training the dogs
Provides hope, and love to lives that are lacking a sense of purpose
Engages a sense of belonging and structure that helps the facility to maintain a better and safer facility
There are certainly many more intangibles that the Puppies Behind Bars program provides and those are best exemplified in the words of the inmates themselves. Here is a sampling of comments that were told to us on our visit to the Otisville Correctional Facility.
Inmate Jose on what he's learned from his dog:
"I didn't know anything about hard work and responsibility until she taught me."
Inmate Ben on his duty to his dog:
"This little girl is the only thing I haven't messed up in my entire life and I'm not going to let her down."
Inmate Sergio on surviving in prison:
"The other inmates told me that the only way to survive prison is to find a reason to live and someone to love...with this little guy, I got both."
For additional information regarding the Puppies Behind Bars program, visit www.puppiesbehindbars.com.