As part of Patriot Service Dogs’ mission, we not only try to help give veterans a more independent lifestyle, but we also want to help in the rehabilitation of inmates. Unfortunately, there is little in the way of formal research that demonstrates the effects of prison service-dog-training programs on inmate recidivism. However, we like to think of it as every service dog in our program helps save two people.
Reports on How Prison Service-Dog-Training Programs Reduce Crime
Different prisons who have service dog training programs report that for the most part, inmate recidivism declines for those participating in the program. The service dogs help the prisoners deal with anger, teach them patience and persistence, and give them lots of love. In addition, the inmates learn a skill which makes them employable upon their release. As a result, they are less prone to return to a life of crime.
We have had much success partnering with the Florida Department of Corrections to implement our own prison service dog training program called Women Offering Obedience and Friendship, W.O.O.F., at Lowell Correctional Institution in Marian County, Florida. There is no better testament to how well the program works than hearing from the inmates themselves. We thought we’d share one of our inmate’s stories so you could see how effective our W.O.O.F. program is.
My Story : How the Patriot Service-Dog-Training Program Is Changing My Life
” My name is Melody and when I first found out about the WOOF program, I knew that it was how I wanted to do my time. I have always loved dogs. The idea of being around them while learning a new skill seemed like a very positive way to endure an otherwise depressing situation.
I started my journey with the WOOF program in June of 2014, thinking, if nothing else, I’d learn to train dogs. I had no idea the impact it would have on both my time here and my life in general.
I’ve learned a lot about training dogs and continue to learn about other topics as well. On a daily basis, we watch educational videos. On a monthly basis, we do book reports and we occasionally do research projects. I’ve learned to speak with confidence in front of groups of people, something that terrified me in the past.
Having responsibility again and being held accountable for the progress of my dog has not only brought some normalcy to my life, but also helped my self-esteem in a huge way. Every time my dog learns something new, a sense of accomplishment washes over me; I feel proud of my dog and of myself. The skills I’m learning here will follow me into real life as will the self-esteem, making success a more reachable goal.
After training and graduating five dogs for the Humane Society, I moved into the service-dog-training portion of the program and got Riley. Riley is now ten-months old and is well on her way to being a full-fledged service dog helping a disabled veteran. She is amazing and is going to make a huge difference in someone’s life. Riley leaves here knowing over 80 commands.
I spent entirely too long being selfish and this opportunity to train a service dog has opened my eyes to a different lifestyle, one of giving back.”
If you would like to learn more about our W.O.O.F. program and how you can help us save two people with every well-trained service dog, please visit our website.
Patriot Service Dogs, Inc is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping our disabled military community gain a sense of independence through their partnership with a well-trained service dog. Our focus is placing service dogs with disabled active, retired or medically discharged military who have given so much for our freedom. We were formed in July of 2009 in Central Florida with initial offices in Jacksonville & Belleview. At the time of our incorporation, we had 7 founding members with an active and dedicated board. To get more informative updates about our organization, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. We welcome your suggestions as well as financial support through our Donate button on this website. If you are interested in volunteering, contact us at 352-514-9903, and we’ll gladly find a spot for you. We hope you will share our blog posts with your family and friends.