Inmates from Stanley Correctional Institution, Wisconsin, have partnered with the Can Do Canines organisation to train service dogs to assist individuals with various medical conditions.
Prison inmates help train service dogs
Can Do Canines is a non-profit organisation that trains dogs for individuals with hearing loss, mobility challenges, seizure disorders, Type I Diabetes, or childhood autism. During the training process at Stanley Correctional Institution, each dog is assigned to specific inmates as well as a dog-sitter who watches the dog during weekends.
A chance for inmates to give something back, to repair some of the damage they’d done.
‘Can Do Canines, a New Hope, a Minnesota-based nonprofit that trains assistance dogs and provides them free of charge to people with disabilities, has started its fifth prison puppy training program at the Stanley prison.’ – reported Cristena T. O’Brien, for the Leader-Telegram last month.
‘The inmates teach the dogs basic commands and prepare the dogs for a community setting. Following training with inmates, each dog will be placed with a foster-volunteer in a community setting for additional training until they are placed with an individual.’
“This is a chance for inmates to give something back, to repair some of the damage they’d done, by training a dog that is going to change the life of someone they’ve never met,” said Alan Peters, executive director and founder of Can Do Canines.
For more than 25 years, Can Do Canines has provided more than 500 assistance dogs. The animals, some of which are adopted from local shelters, are provided to people with seizure disorders, mobility challenges, hearing loss or deafness, diabetes complicated by hypoglycemia unawareness and autism.
“These dogs really make a difference in people’s lives,” said Peters, explaining the five prison training programs allow his organisation to train more animals.
The dogs will be returned to Can Do Canines after 16 to 18 months for final training before they are placed with a client with a disability, Peters said, and more animals will take their place at the Stanley facility.
Become a Service Dog trainer in your area
Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is a coalition of not for profit 'assistance dog' organisations. Here they spell out all you need to know if you are condidering becoming a Service/Assistance Dog trainer.