Zach is an 11 year old, 5th grader with Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. Zach at age five stopped hugging his parents. At age nine, he was still at a kindergarten level. His parents, searching for any option that could help their son, learned about service dogs trained to help the disabled. Zach then was introduced to Clyde, a chocolate Labrador. Zach was given the dog on the condition that he was the only one allowed to feed, pet, and totally take care of the dog. Zach came to learn to touch again through the petting of Clyde. Clyde goes to school with Zach and has helped the boy lower his anxiety level as well as helping to keep him focused. Zach’s father said -The biggest change I saw from the first day that Clyde came home was that Zach wasn’t staying up all night in his bed crying.- Clyde has become a savior to the whole family! A huge bonus with getting a prison trained dog is the cost. Private dog trainers may charge $20,000 but a prison trained dog can be just a little over a $1,000.
Christopher Vogt, a prisoner in the high security Sterling Correctional Facility in Colorado, is part of the -Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program.- Voght is the person who trained Clyde. Vogt learned to train dogs while serving his time and over the years has since earned permission to train dogs specifically for children with autism. Vogt learned the behavioral patterns of autism and has since trained some twenty dogs to help these children. That’s what I call giving back. In 2018, Volt will be eligible for parole. He has been serving a 48 year prison term for second degree murder. He has also written and even illustrated two children’s books about dogs helping autistic children.
-Mission Pawsible- is a similar program working inside 4 different Correctional Institutions located in Ohio. Prisoners earn the right to have a puppy to train. The inmates learn how to train the puppy while they in turn learn a valuable skill and earn the pride in knowing they will be helping some disabled child receive the freedom and protection only a service dog can provide. The inmates receive a photo of the child with the service dog they helped train after placement. -4 Paws for Ability- is another program that works with prisoners to train dogs. With the guidance of Certified Trainers, these dogs also go on to specifically help disabled children as well as veterans who have lost a limb or suffered hearing loss. For more information please check out .
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