Puppies Behind Bars trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.
Puppies enter prison at the age of eight weeks and live with their inmate puppy-raisers for approximately 20 months.
I started Puppies Behind Bars after reading about a prison/guide dog program that was started in Gainesville, Florida by a veterinarian named Dr. Thomas Lane.
I visited Dr. Lane and three prisons where his program existed. I spoke with inmates, with prison staff, and with the people who ran the program in those prisons and came away with ideas about what worked really well and what I might change if I were to start my own program.
Armed with my information and ideas, I went up to Albany to meet with the Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, to ask if I might “put puppies in your prisons”.