Paws for a Cause: Puppies in Prison

When U.S. Army Sergeant lost both her arms in a bomb blast in Iraq, she didn’t know how she’d live a normal life again.

Now she does.

She’s got a right-hand accomplice in the form of an amber-colored Labrador Retriever named Remy, trained by prisoners through the program called Puppies Behind Bars.

Started in 1997 by Gloria Gilbert Stoga, Puppies Behind Bars is a win-win program that raises and trains dogs to assist disabled children, war veterans, blind children, law enforcement, and disabled adults. The interesting part is: it’s done through the prison systems at various prisons by inmates.

The pups live in the cells with their primary raisers, go to classes, and go on weekend “fur-loughs” where they’re exposed to noises they won’t hear in prison–doorbells, coffee grinders, or kids running on a crowded sidewalk.  The puppies live in prison for sixteen months, after which they are tested on over 80+ commands to determine their suitability for training as service dogs in the various areas.

The pups not only help others, the inmates attest to the fact that they train them, too.  Hardened prisoners incarcerated for murder, rape, and armed robbery are dealt unconditional love and compassion in a society that’s thrown them away. They’re taught responsibility and patience through the love of these precious animals.

What a great cause! We at CondoDomain strive to continue to give back to our community.  Maybe this is something Dallas could pursue at a greater level?


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