Service Dogs in Training at New York Prison Become Veteran’s Best Friend
We all know that dogs have healing powers. Service dogs are used for a variety of needs. There is a special program that trains these dogs in a New York State prison so they can be of help to veterans.
What is The Program Called?
It's known as "Pawsitive for Heroes". The program was created back in 2018 by a local nonprofit that provides support for veterans called Western New York Heroes. The dogs are trained to help veterans cope with stress, anxiety, and specifically post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Where are the Dogs Trained and Who Works With Them?
The Pawsitive for Heroes program is held at the Niagara County Correctional Facility and inmates train the dogs. The dogs lived with the inmates and intertwined into the jail system. They were under the watch of the correctional facility. The inmates are the ones working with the dogs and spend the majority of their time directly with them according to WKBW.
The founder of the program, Chris Kreiger had this to say about the partnership,
We created the program to help our veterans. To make their lives better, and to give them support. Our partnership was a perfect match.
How Are the Inmates Reacting?
Many of the inmates feel that they are doing something good while they are incarcerated. Inmate Henry Stovall said that being part of the program and training the dog that he's paired with, Callie has created a family bond with her. Another inmate, Michael Kornaker said it makes him feel like he's not in jail. He loves knowing that even being behind bars he is doing something good for someone on the outside.
What Happens When The Program Ends?
The first cycle of the program has ended and the dogs are placed with veterans in need. In the coming weeks, more dogs will arrive at the Niagara County Correctional Facility to train another group of dogs for more veterans that need them.
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