Female inmates in California are taking on the task of training service dogs for those with disabilities.
Source: ABC News
The prison program is run by the non-profit Pups Uplifting Prisoner’s Spirits, or PUPS, which trains service dogs to make the option accessible for those with disabilities. This program not benefits not only the people who will end up getting a fully trained service dog, but also the female inmates who now have something fulfilling to do and an adorable animal to interact with.
Amy Davis, an inmate at the prison, said, “This isn’t just about training a dog. We are training service dogs that save lives, and it’s about what the service dogs do to us to help us grow and continue to grow and to heal our own wounds. You can’t be in this program and not grow. It doesn’t work like that.”
The inmates can apply to become service dog trainers and must meet certain criteria, including mental and physical health, commitment levels, and interest. They must sign up for a two-year commitment and train the service dog for 12 to 18 months. Then, the dogs are taken elsewhere to perfect their skills before they are finally paired with someone who has a disability.
Dana Frooman, the prison program manager for Little Angels Service Dogs, said, “When I got here, I realized that these are women with stories, and they’re heart-wrenching stories, and they were so open and honest. It changed me because I realized that the dogs weren’t just changing the recipients’ lives, they were changing the inmates’ lives, and then they changed mine.”
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