PITTSBURGH, PA (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE)
It is with great pleasure that we announce our latest partnership, with the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Mercer. As part of our new partnership, incarcerated veterans will train some of our future service dogs, beginning at approximately 5 months of age, all while earning college credit.
The program is already underway, with our Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Carol Borden recently completing a full seven days of classes for the 12 selected incarcerated veterans, teaching them our comprehensive training regimen. While required to pass the written portion of the class with an 80% or better, we are proud to say that of the 12 participants, they all scored above 95%.
Now that they are ready to begin training, 4 young future service dogs are on their way to Mercer from our Florida headquarters and are scheduled to arrive at Mercer later this week.
Once they arrive, the dogs will remain with the inmates 24 hours a day, for several months, and will be participating daily in classes and public access-style learning adventures due to Mercer’s unique design featuring a cafeteria, classrooms, hospital, auditorium, gymnasium, commissary and library – the conditions are perfect for re-creating public access-type scenarios for the dogs to train in.
The teams training dogs inside Mercer will be visited weekly or more by our Pennsylvania Regional Trainer, to ensure program compliance and monitor each dogs’ progress as they go through our positive-reinforcement curriculum.
An additional key benefit of this program is that the selected incarcerated veterans will be earning college credits. This program will not only help the disabled Pennsylvania veterans who ultimately receive the donated service dogs; but it is teaching a new, marketable skillset and industry to those currently incarcerated.
“I have always been so inspired by the service and sacrifice of our American heroes,” said Sen. Brooks, who worked for two years to bring the program to SCI Mercer. “The brotherhood that unites our veterans, and the healing power of a dog, have always impressed me as well. This transformative new program unites these special elements into one heart-warming support network, and is destined to produce benefits that will allow veterans to help other veterans in a life-changing way.”
Asked about the new program, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs Founder & CEO, Carol Borden said: “I couldn’t be more excited about the magnificent start of this ground-breaking program. We expect great things – not only in the training of the dogs that will be donated to veterans in Pennsylvania; but that we will be giving the incarcerated veterans hope for a new future once they have served their time. By participating in this program, they are already serving their community”.
Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs is a 501(C) 3 non-profit organization founded in Williston, Florida and has grown into a nation-wide Service Dog Organization. We rescue, raise, train and donate individually trained medical service dogs to veterans, first responders and others who suffer from disabilities including PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, seizure disorders, diabetic alert, mobility issues and more. Guardian Angels receives up to 40 inquiries each day for one of their medical Service Dogs. If you’d like to learn more about our programs, get involved, make a contribution, or be part of supporting this life-saving project please call 800-398-6102 or visit our website at: MedicalServiceDogs.org.
LtoR: Mr. Diaz, Rocky Bleier, former Steelers Professional Football Player, Senator Michele Brooks, Secretary John Wetzel, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Carol Borden, Founder & CEO of Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Melinda Adams, Superintendent of SCI Mercer, Dustin Schneider, Recipient and Guardian Angels Spangle, Gen. Schindler, Deputy Adjutant General, Veterans Affairs.