Volunteers for CanineCompanionsforIndependence wear many different hats, puppy raisers, puppy sitters, puppy bathers, puppy shuttlers, just to name a few. This week, as a CCI volunteer, it's been my privilege to foster a special puppy.
Deidre is being raised by the inmates at Miramar Brig.
It's been proven that puppies raised by prisoners make excellent service dogs. That's a good thing for those of us on the outside, but it's also been proven that puppies raised within prison can change the morale of the prison as a whole and give the inmates, as individuals, a life altering experience. We all know the unconditional love a pup gives. Picture that unconditional love smothering someone who might have nothing to live for. As I said, life altering!
CCI has been working with the Miramar Brig for several years and the graduation rate of these puppies far exceeds that of puppy raisers on the outside. However one of the drawbacks is that these pups need socialization beyond the confines of the prison environment. That's where people like me come in. The pups are furloughed for two weeks every few months so that they can experience normal everyday things that we take for granted, but that they have not seen or heard, traffic noises, cars honking, taking a walk in the neighborhood, leaves falling, children running up for a pet.
Because the pups are so well trained in their commands they're very easy to be with and what fun I'm having letting Deidre run up the stairs, explore the backyard, go to a restaurant, accompany me to church.
Thank you, CCI, and especially Stu and Cath, for giving me this opportunity.
It's also a wonderful way to get over the sorrow of turning in Wyanne.