The Canine Companions community brings people together in unique ways. In Texas, college students and inmates of a local prison work together to train future service dogs. Inmates at Federal Prison Camp Bryan have been raising puppies for Canine Companions for over 10 years and work with the Collar Scholars — a group of Texas A&M students — for socialization opportunities.
“The inmates do a wonderful job building a foundation and teaching the dogs the commands. We then work with the dogs in situations that they would not get inside the facility,” says Jessica, Collar Scholars club member.
Typically, the inmates have primary responsibility for the training, while the students focus on taking the puppies into the community and exposing them to new environments. Due to the pandemic, dogs were no longer able to come and go from the prison.
Without hesitation, the members of the Collar Scholars shifted to full-time puppy raising to ensure the dogs would be prepared for their futures. This meant learning new skills such as training obedience commands, grooming and adjusting their schedules to care for a dog full time.
“I have gained a huge appreciation for the inmates who work so hard to give the puppies their foundation,” says Jessica. “These are incredible dogs and are going to go help people who deserve them.”