Inmates in the Bland Correctional Center share how the Prison Pup Program has impacted their lives...
The Saint Francis Prison Pup Program began at the medium security Bland Correctional Center in the summer of 2002. Many of the dogs in the Saint Francis training program spend at least some time in prison under the tutelage of the men in the Prison Pup Program.

The inmates in the Prison Pup Program are carefully selected by the prison administration to be in the program. These men are all residents of the prison's honor dorm, a coveted privilege earned by the men for good behavior. To stay in the Prison Pup Program, the men must maintain near-perfect behavior in all aspects of prison life. A breach of any rule or regulation results in removal from the Prison Pup Program and the loss of their puppy.

The puppies are trained using methods approved and taught by Saint Francis trainers. The men live in small individual rooms with their puppies so bonding, playing and training is ongoing. A Saint Francis staff trainer travels to the prison weekly to meet with the inmates and puppies. She teaches the men new training methods, evaluates the progress of the puppies, and troubleshoots training issues. A counselor on the prison staff acts as liaison to Saint Francis, overseeing the Prison Pup Program and communicating with Saint Francis.

Saint Francis puppies thrive in prison. The puppies enjoy having a regular schedule, lots of time for learning, and constant companionship. While at Bland the puppies are gently guided in the necessary skills of socialization, manners, and obedience that will move them toward the goal of becoming a Saint Francis Service Dog.

For the men, the puppies provide a balm for the spirit. In the words of one inmate "my puppy taught me how to love, how to reach out and touch somebody, and how to be a special human being". This is very good news for the many deserving people waiting for a Saint Francis Service Dog.

Saint Francis thanks Purina for their support
For questions or additional information about Saint Francis Service Dogs contact us at info@saintfrancisdogs.org or call 540.342.DOGS (3647).

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Prison Pup Program