Dog Power: Helping Vets in and Out of Prison
Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, Washington partners with Brigadoon Service Dogs to allow veterans in their facility to train services dogs for those outside prison walls coping with PTSD and other battle related disabilities. This partnership is possible because Washington is one of the few prison systems to house vets together.
The vets who participate in training the dogs feel they’re getting a chance to give something back and are proud of the work they do. It’s a chance for them to heal and feel they’re redeeming themselves; a chance to get their lives back on track.
The vets who receive the dogs call them “life savers.” Having the services dogs has allowed veterans like Brian Henry to reenter society without constant flashbacks and paranoia. The dogs are also trained to help with physical tasks such as retrieving dropped objects, turning lights on or off, and a variety of other needs.
The biggest winners of all might be the dogs. Instead of winding up in a shelter where their temperaments might make them difficult to adopt, they get personal attention, special training, and forever homes where they make a huge difference to their owner.