An organization is saving lives by sending puppies to prison, and it’s the only reason why dogs should ever be behind bars. They are also changing how prison inmates are serving time and helping them make a really positive change in their communities.
Gloria Gilbert Stoga, the founder and president of “Puppies Behind Bars,” said she was first inspired to create the organization after reading about a veterinarian in Florida who recruited prison inmates to train guide dogs for the blind.
“I just thought it was an absolutely brilliant idea, I just followed my passion to create a program where prison inmates train dogs that will go out and work in the community.”” Gilbert Stoga told In The Know.
The fortunate veterans who received the dogs after their graduations described how much of a life-changing the experience has been and how strong of an impact are the dogs having on their lives.
“When I talked to the VA about getting a service dog, I saw that ‘Puppies Behind Bars’ does work for trauma, for PTSD dogs. It’s pretty unbelievable, you kind of actually start to get the hope that life is going to be so much better now.”” said Col. Jeanna Meyer, a veteran and service dog recipient. “
Port Authority Police officer Brian Andrews, another service dog recipient, recalled being a highly active person until 2015 when he sustained an injury on the job that left him in a dark place.
“I basically crawled into a fetal position and spent a year and a half like that, This ‘Puppies Behind Bars’ program has brought me back to more pre-injury (status).”officer Andrews said.
As miraculous as “Puppies Behind Bars” has been for dog recipients, inmates have also touted the benefits of participating in the program, which Gilbert Stoga describes as being nothing but rigorous.
The training process for an inmate — it’s really hard, There’s tests, there are quizzes, there’s the hands-on assignment. If you’ve raised a dog to completion, you feel pretty damn good about yourself.”
As for the inmates, they also think it’s definitely worth the time and effort.
“It’s definitely something that’s positive and has lifted me up and helped me in ways I never thought possible. It’s like, ‘Here. Thank you.’ I put my love, my blood, sweat and tears into these dogs, and this is for you.
When everybody graduates, they go home with the dogs, were all rooting for them, and we’re hoping for optimal success. The dogs have saved lives.”Inmate and puppy raiser Rebecca Polomaine.