Wis. inmates train dogs to service disabled vets, others

The program, created by Sister Pauline Quinn, has been around since 2012 and has graduated 61 dogs to loving homes

OSHKOSH, Wis. — Inmates at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution in Wisconsin are training dogs to help the blind, veterans with PTSD and others as a way to give back to the community.

The program, created by Sister Pauline Quinn, has been around since 2012 and has graduated 61 dogs to loving homes, according to the AZ Daily Sun.

Inmates teach the dogs basic commands along with more complicated tasks, such as turning lights on and off. Inmates don’t receive compensation for the training, but Warden Judy Smith believes the program has a positive effect on them.

One inmate commented that having the dog with him felt like he was “no longer in prison,” and called participating in the program “a real privilege.”

The program is overseen by the OccuPaws Guide Dog Association and Pathways of Courage, who look for dogs who can assist veterans with PTSD. All dogs are provided to the prison for free from the organizations.

No state funds are used for the program; a former kitchen inside the prison has been turned into a grooming facility where the inmates bring their dogs twice a week for bathing and other maintenance.

Equipment such as fencing for the dog run, collars, leashes and vests are donated, as are veterinary services.

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