At the Fishkill Correctional Facility in upstate New York, more than 1,600 men convicted of abuse, robbery and murder are serving their time. "I've been incarcerated for robbery in the first degree," an inmate named Michael says. "I really had no regards for other people. It was always me, me, me, me."
Now, a groundbreaking program called Puppies Behind Bars is transforming these offenders. Inmates are given 8-week-old puppies and taught to train them to become service dogs for the disabled, including wounded soldiers. The puppies and prisoners are together 24 hours a day. The puppies sleep in crates in the inmates' cells.Go inside a training session.
In return, the puppies give the prisoners something many of them have never experienced before—unconditional love. "I'm going to make my family and those around me proud of me again. Joining this program, it helped me to give myself a sense of pride again. To know that by nurturing and raising these dogs to their fullest potential, that I could give back."
Published on May 06, 2009
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