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From WMOT News

Tennessee prison inmates help train service dogs

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WHITEVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Tennessee inmates are training service dogs for a national charity at Hardeman Correctional Facility in Whiteville.

Nationwide, inmates at 15 prisons are training dogs basic commands for the non-profit Canine Companions for Independence. The charity provides service dogs free of charge.

Donald Moore is one of six Hardeman inmates currently training CCI dogs. Over about two years he’ll teach his dog Lazlo about 30 commands. But Moore says Lazlo isn’t the only one learning.

“These dogs are preparing us as inmates, as men, to grow into a more positive and productive men, and try to be more…a better citizen in society.”

Cassie Graham is the Hardeman supervisor for the service dog training program. She says the dogs have an impact prison wide.

“These inmates, they’re like ‘Oh, let me pet your dog,’ you know. So you can see a change in a lot of their attitudes just walking up and down the hall by seeing these dogs in the facility.”

Ashton Roberts is the CCI Puppy Program Regional Manager. She says it’s expensive training service dogs, so the inmates are saving the charity money. She says inmates can also devote more or less all their time to the puppy.

“They do provide a lot of time. They spend a lot of time with these puppies. They get pretty emotionally invested in them as well so it’s pretty hard to see them go, but they know going into it this is what they want to do.”

Would you like to learn more about the CCI program?