San Quentin Puppy Raising Programs Hosts Heartwarming Matriculation Celebration

Eleven puppy raisers at San Quentin Rehabilitation Center pose with their Canine Companions puppies.Canine Companions began a prison puppy raising program at San Quentin Rehabilitation Center in Northern California in April 2023, when two puppies, Artemis and Wendel, entered the facility. Beginning with just four handlers and two puppies, the program has now expanded to include twelve handlers and eight puppies, with additional puppies coming through San Quentin for about a month at a time. 

Now nearly a year and a half old, Artemis and Wendel are almost ready to enter professional training, and Canine Companions and San Quentin puppy raisers and staff came together for a matriculation celebration. Canine Companions CEO Paige Mazzoni spoke, followed by Director of Puppy Programs James Dern and Northwest Region Puppy Program Manager Susan Porteous, thanking the staff and handlers for their participation in our program. 

Handlers Chase, Jared, Aaron and Travis were honored for their work in raising puppies Artemis and Wendel. We are so grateful for their efforts!

Incarcerated puppy handlers shared about their experience in the program.

a puppy raiser kneels, hugging the black puppy he raised.

 “Working with Wendel has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. The pride I feel when he learns a new cue and the joy I feel when he greets me is like nothing else.” shares Chase. “I know without a doubt he will do great things and be a great service dog. I feel honored to be a part of the change in somebody’s life.” 

Chase knows how impactful a service dog can be, since his grandfather, Marv, has had a Canine Companions service dog by his side for decades.

We are thrilled to continue and grow the puppy raising program at San Quentin and at other facilities across the country.



Check out these stories about the event:

San Quentin inmates send off puppies they raised to become service dogs alongside crowd – CBS Bay Area*

San Quentin inmates find new purpose by training future service dogs – ABC Bay Area*

Behind bars at San Quentin, training puppies to be service dogs an act of learning and redemption – Press Democrat*

We look forward to sharing more with you about our puppy raising program at San Quentin in the future!

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