Inmates training puppies to be service dogs for disabled veterans
WMAR-TV - Online

View Clip

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Some of them have been here for years, all have a different criminal past; they're doing time and watching time go by behind bars. But for a select group at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, the past year has flown by.

"When you're in prison, you kind of isolate yourself," says inmate Kent Brewer. Brewer says for the first time in 18 years, he has a friend. "He's in my cube and goes with me everywhere. When I eat, he eats with me. I sneak him a little food, you aren't supposed to, but that's why he's so overweight!"

Last October, America's VetDogs brought in a litter of 8-week-old puppies to be trained. The select group of inmates spent nearly every waking hour to turn the pups into service dogs for disabled veterans. What many of them didn't realize is how much the dogs would change their lives.

"That's my best friend. 11 years I been here, I can't say I've had a better friend than that," says inmate Terry Dorsey. "Regardless of when I'm sad, feeling bad, or I don't talk to the family from uptown, I got family here."

Like proud parents, a few of the trainers watched their dogs graduate from the program Thursday. Now, their four legged friends will be on their way to helping America's heroes.

"We do a lot of things wrong in our lives. I did. And it's kind of like a restored justice program. You can give something back that's good," Brewer says.

Three dogs graduated in Thursday's class, and a new litter was brought in for training.

If you'd like get involved in the program you can contact America's VetDogs.