Dogs trained to aid wounded
Dear Sgt. Shaft:
If you or your readers know of any wounded soldier who could benefit by having a dog — trained by prisoners at the California Institution for Women in Southern California as well as other “prison-dog programs” across the country — to assist them, please let me know.
There are prison-dog programs in all parts of the country. After the start of the first school and others after, the idea caught on. The dogs are given to the wounded veteran free of charge. They will be taught how to handle the dog, care for him or her and find new independence partnered with their canine friends, who can go in all public places.
One of the programs is known as Dog Bless America. This program is expanding the vision to include America’s current veteran heroes. By combining their efforts with Pathways to Hope, the prison-dog program and many of the Veterans Affairs organizations across the country have created a win/win/win situation.
In 1981, Sister Pauline Quinn started the prison-dog program in Washington state, rescuing shelter dogs and bringing them into the prison, where inmates trained them to assist the handicapped. The inmates learned responsibility through the care and training of these special dogs.
Pathways to Hope identifies the programs and dogs to be matched with the veterans. Pathways receives funds from Dog Bless America, money that is then given to a particular prison program that can match and place a service dog to help a wounded soldier.
I am asking you and your readers to help us communicate this program to the people in need of these services. We will attempt to match them with a special service dog. Sister Pauline and Pathways will handle the initial contact, and each prison program has its own screening process. The points of contact are: www.picturetrail .com/srpauline, pathwaystohope.blogspot.com and srpaulina.blogspot.com.
I am happy to help get the word out on this wonderful program.
* The Sarge joins House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner, California Democrat, in applauding his colleagues in the House of Representatives for passage of H.R. 2642, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. As the chairman said:
“I applaud my colleagues for passing the largest increase for VA health care in 77 years. H.R. 2642 sends a clear message to America’s service members that this Congress recognizes that taking care of veterans is an ongoing cost of war, and an ongoing cost of our national defense. It represents an unprecedented increase that comes at a time when we are faced with unprecedented needs.