The Washington Post

Md. prisoners are training puppies to become service dogs for veterans

I love dogs. And I love this story: Maryland inmates are training puppies to work with disabled veterans.

You can watch the Associated Press video about it above.

Inmate John Barba works with Dill, a dog in training at Western Correctional Institution in Cresaptown, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The pups help rehab the prisoners, and the prisoners in turn train the dogs to help disabled veterans with the most basic of tasks — including turning off light switches and carrying household items.

Officials say the dogs often learn more by training in prisons than in foster homes because they thrive on repetition and routine, and prisons are nothing if not repetitive. The dogs live behind bars for more than a year, then leave for a disabled vet’s home, according to AP.

There is one perk the puppies get that prisoners don’t — weekend trips to live with a family, so they can learn the ins and outs of malls and grocery stores and the (also repetitive) chaos of family life.

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.


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