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Training Service Dogs

June 16, 2020

Since 2012, the Retrieving Independence Serving with Canines program has partnered with TDOC to train offenders to raise and train puppies to be service animals for people with mobility disabilities, seizure disorders and diabetes.

Last summer, the program which started at Turney Center Industrial Complex (TCIX), added the Tennessee Prison for Women (TPFW) to the list of facilities with the training program. After a month away, due to COVID-19 concerns, the dogs were returned to TPFW on Tuesday.

“These dogs change these ladies’ lives, by having a companion that shows them unconditional love, and when you are loved unconditionally, it changes your way of thinking. “says Corporal Craig Hawn who oversees the program. Corporal Hawn also tells us “The reward for me is seeing them change their lives. I can tell you every single one of these women in this program have grown from when they started out.”

During the nearly 18-month program the dogs undergo an intensive training process, teaching them everything from seizure detection and wheelchair assistance, to opening and closing doors and loading laundry.  A recipient for each dog is matched early on and the training program is tailored to meet that person’s specific needs.

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