Puppies Behind Bars trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and for first responders, as well as explosive-detection canines for law enforcement. The dogs live in prison with their inmate puppy-raisers from the age of 8 weeks to 28 months. As the puppies mature into well-loved, well-behaved working dogs, their raisers learn what it means to give back to society.
A 2018 grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network supported “team training” of veterans and first responders with their new service dogs. Recipients were paired with their new service dogs during an intensive sixteen-day period during which they learned how to take full advantage of the 90+ commands their canine companions could perform. Much of the team training process took place in prison, where the inmates who had raised the dogs taught the veterans how to effectively work with and care for them.