USA: Puppies Behind Bars by Radhika Chalasani

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ED AND MIDAS, AN 18 MONTH-OLD GOLDEN RETRIEVER -- Ed was sentenced to 20 years to life and has served 16 years of his sentence. ED: "My smile muscles hadn't been used in 15 years. You can't show emotion and open up to anyone...it's a sign of weakness [in prison]. The dogs open you up and then next thing you know you've changed. It's such a worthwhile thing for so many people. So many things you do in here mean nothing....this is all very, very worthwhile...better than sitting in like a warehouse the way so many facilities are. I'm like the doctor for all the dogs. I do plan to pursue a career in the veterinary field...in the medical end."..The Puppies Behind Bars (PPB) Program works with prison inmates in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to train service dogs, including ones who help injured soldiers. The puppies arrive at 8 weeks-old and remain at the prisons, mostly working with one inmate, for 20 months. Fishkill Correctional Facility is a medium security prison in New York with 22 men in the puppy program. The emotional element of caring for the puppies breaks down the hard façade that most prisoners create for themselves to survive prison life.  Prisoners learn responsibility and pride in helping others. The program often gives them a new outlook on their crimes, their time in prison, and goals when they are released. ..