SOMERS, Conn. (WTNH) — Four dogs are now the graduates of a special training program at Osborn Correctional Institute.
The Prison Puppy Program was made possible by a partnership between the State Department of Corrections and America’s VetDogs.
Inmates helped raise and train puppies that will work with wounded veterans.
The puppies, that came to the prison around 8-9 weeks old, lived in the handler’s cell and were taught basic obedience skills, along with service tasks like retrieving dropped items, tugging open doors, pushing handicapped door buttons, and providing brace and balance on stairs.
“Everybody benefits, two and four-leggers in this program,” said trainer Mark Tyler. “The dog benefits because they got the camaraderie and the compassion, the partnership with the inmates, while they’re working in here they’re never alone … The veterans benefit from getting a more qualified dog. The inmates benefit a great deal from learning a work ethic and learning a pattern and some skills that will hopefully involve some employment when they get out to reduce the recidivism rate.
More information about the program can be found online.