Saturday, December 30, 2017

Prisoners and puppies changing lives 4 paws at a time

Puppies Raised In Prison Go On To Help Disabled Veterans
WNPR
David Desroches
December 29, 2017

Prisons have actually been training dogs since the 1980s. A Dominican nun is credited with  bringing the first training program to a Washington state prison back in 1981.

Jerrod Chapel working with his dog, Pete, teaching him how to fetch things for a future disabled veteran.DAVID DESROCHES / WNPR 
Inside Enfield Correctional Institution there are all the expected security measures: Huge steel doors. Armed guards. Barbed-wire fences. Locked gates.

But in one area of the prison, there's something a little different.

There's a room with a huge mural painted on the back wall. It shows men and women in army fatigues playing with dogs. One woman is in a wheelchair. Inside this room, there are all sorts of props built to mimic items in a home: a refrigerator; a portion of a wall with a light switch on it; a door -- literally a door to nowhere -- in the middle of the room, with a leash attached to a handle.

This room is where inmates train puppies to be service dogs for veterans.

One of the dogs Santiago got to train was Caspar, a big yellow lab, mixed with a little golden retriever. A few months ago, Caspar found a home with Bob Rapone. He's a Vietnam veteran who's been living with PTSD ever since he came home nearly 50 years ago.
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