Puppies for Parole Goes Beyond Dogs in Prison
Each month, Wayward Dogs highlights a story from Missouri’s Puppies for Parole program, a nationally renowned model for saving shelter dogs while helping human offenders. Instead of focusing on an adoptable P4P canine graduate, today’s post looks at a new way that this program will benefit people and dogs in Missouri.
From Shelter Dogs to Therapy Dogs
A recent partnership announced between the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) and Bridle Ridge Acres, a comprehensive health care center in Hillsboro, will connect animals from the state’s Puppies for Parole program and children with special needs.
Owned and operated by Community Treatment Inc. (COMTREA), Bridle Ridge is a 45-acre campus that will offer general practice medical care, dental care for children, behavioral health care, mental health care, substance abuse care and family therapy, as well as equine and canine therapy.
“Animal Assisted Intervention is a promising frontier in health and mental health,” says Judy Finnegan, COMTREA associate vice president.
“We are so pleased that through our partnership with the Department of Corrections,” she says, “COMTREA will have specially trained ‘helper dogs’ that will benefit many in our community. It seems like this partnership completes a circle: A dog is saved – a dog is trained and a person in need is helped.”
Following basic obedience training with offender handlers at Potosi Correctional Center, specially chosen Puppies for Parole dogs will go through additional professional training for canine therapy.
Certain selected dogs will also be offered to nursing homes, schools, hospitals and other institutions.
According to DOC Director George Lombardi, this partnership is an ideal arrangement.
“Since the program’s inception, it’s always been a vision of mine to have our offenders train dogs for those with special needs,” he says. “This partnership is a natural fit for us, and I hope it serves as a catalyst for many other relationships with organizations that assist those with special needs.”
Do you agree with me that this a great development for Puppies for Parole? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
To browse adoptable P4P graduates, check out the currently available dogs.
Posted on April 10, 2013, in Dogs, Fostering and tagged animal assisted intervention, autism, Bridle Ridge Acres, canine therapy, COMTREA, dogs and special needs children, dogs helping people, George Lombardi, Missouri Department of Corrections, Missouri Puppies for Parole, therapy dogs. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.