Maryland Inmates Train Service Dogs For Wounded Vets - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Maryland Inmates Train Service Dogs For Wounded Vets

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WESTOVER, Md. - At Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland, the American Vet Dog program pairs inmates with puppies to be trained as service dogs for wounded veterans.  It's an initiative that prison staff say is uniquely effective.  ECI warden Kathleen Green says "puppies trained in correctional facilities are actually trained in less than half the time."

The dogs stay at the prison for about a year.  There, inmates teach the puppies basic skills and commands before they're sent off to New York for "finishing" school where they learn to care for wounded vets, but it's not just the canine caregivers that benefit.      

Shane Pardoe, an inmate at ECI says "The significance of this, the meaning that it gives to our lives to be a part of something so worthy, it really...It gives you something that you don't want to lose."

ECI hopes to keep the program growing eventually going from 6 to 20, but in order to do that, they need more "foster parents" to volunteer.

The dogs are housed at the jail most days, but every once in a while, they're sent to foster homes on weekends to help socialize them.

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