Inmates at 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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540.342.DOGS (3647).
The Prison Pup Program
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