This week’s “Thankful Thursday” would like highlight the success of “Puppies Behind Bars” program which trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for first responders, law enforcement and veterans suffering from post traumatic stress (PTSD)
At the age of 8 weeks old, Labrador Retriever puppies enter the prison environment to be trained as service dogs until they are ready to be placed which is between the ages of 20 and 28 months. Following the initial training, the puppies are matched with a recipient and the final training continues in prison.
The program currently has approximately 60 service dogs being raised inside four prisons. The dogs learn 82 industry-standard commands (e.g. retrieving objects, turning on and off lights, and opening doors so a wheelchair can pass through), as well as 10 specific commands to assist first responders and veterans with PTSD.
With so many veterans, police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel suffering from PTSD in silence, the “Puppies Behind Bars” program is committed to increasing awareness around this issue by sharing how these service dogs successfully changed the lives of the officers, firefighters and veterans. It has also impacted in a positive way, their families and their employing agencies.
The “Puppies Behind Bars” program currently operates in six correctional facilities throughout New York and New Jersey. Since its inception in 1997, the program has raised over 1,200 service dogs for those suffering from PTSD.
See link below for some “Puppies Behind Bars” success stories: