Female inmates at a Fort Worth prison are helping raise puppies that will one day become service dogs for people with disabilities.
Their work is for a national nonprofit organization called Canine Companions for Independence, which provides service dogs free of charge to those in need.
“Inmates participating in the program often express appreciation for an experience in which they are able to contribute to the community in a positive way.”
Since 2009, female inmates at the Federal Medical Center Carswell, the federal prison at Naval Air Station Fort Worth for those with special medical or mental health needs, have taken part in the Prison Puppy Raising Program. It’s one of 14 prisons in the nation working with Canine Companions, reported the Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s Elizabeth Campbell.
Typically, the dogs arrive at the prison at 8 weeks old and stay for about a year and half during which inmates make sure they are house-broken and teach leash walking and obedience, according to the Star-Telegram.
Once the puppies are ready for assistance dog training, they will head to the nonprofit’s South Central Training Center in Irving. The Kinkeade Campus at Baylor Scott & White Health opened in 2015 and marks the first assistance dog program to partner with a health-care system, according to the Canine Companions website.
In the last six years, 28 puppies have been raised at Carswell and seven have graduated as service dogs, according to the Star-Telegram.
“Inmates participating in the program often express appreciation for an experience in which they are able to contribute to the community in a positive way,” Patricia Comstock, public information officer at Carswell, told the newspaper.
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