Puppies Behind Bars is a wonderful organization that trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.
In July of 1997 Puppies Behind Bars came into existence as a way for puppies to be raised for service dogs for returning war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and to train dogs in the specialty field of explosive detection for law enforcement personnel.
Prison inmates are the perfect choice for raising and training these puppies – they have unlimited time to spend with the puppies, and in addition, inmates learn responsibility, patience, how to give and receive unconditional love and how to work as a team.
Puppy raisers show the pups tenderness and love, which had not been given expression before, and are deeply committed to supplying the solid foundations upon which guide dogs are made.
While in the Puppies Behind Bars program, the puppies live in the cells with their primary raisers and go to classes that are administered by Puppies Behind Bars. Two or three weekends per month, the puppies go to “puppy sitters” on the outside of prison so that the pups can be exposed to sounds and experiences not normally found in prison, such as doorbells, cars, and crowded sidewalks.
The puppies live with their handlers in prison for sixteen months and at that time they are evaluated to see if they are suitable for more advanced training for law enforcement. If they are suitable, then the puppies move on to formal training school. If the dogs are not quite cut out for law enforcement work, then they will be donated to families with blind children and as other service dogs.
The beauty of this symbiotic relationship of puppies and inmates far exceeds just training puppies. The puppies come into the prison system as little beings who are not house broken, have no knowledge of commands, don’t know their names and are transformed into beautiful well-behaved young dogs who are able to contribute to society.The prisoners are given a second chance at hope, love and responsibility.
To read more about the Explosive Detection Canine Program, please read more here.
To read more about the Service Dog Program, please read more here.
If you would like to donate to Puppies Behind Bars, please read more here.