Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Prison Dog Program Pictures

Click Here to view Prison Dog Program pictures

Sunday, July 27, 2008



Thanks to Bridgette Cole of Deerfield, Michigan ~ Bella Biche Chinese Cresteds for donating Ellie and Jeni who left for prison to be loved and trained by the inmates to be either a hearing dog for the deaf or a small service dog that rides on a wheelchair. If they don't make it, there are other wonderful plans for them. In the mean time, they are helping to bring bright smiles into Dwight Correctional women's prison in Illinois.





More about the Dwight Correctional HELPING PAWS prison dog program

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008



We have a new match!

Greetings Team! Congratulations! We have raised our first $12,000 for Pathways to Hope and the Prison Dog Program through Sr. Pauline. As you know this money went to the program that trained Jackson, who was matched with Sgt Arthur Lyles.

Today we are pleased to announce that Sr. has made a second match with a very special dog named Lance. Lance was one of the dogs that Jackie, Anne and Patty helped transfer to the Southern California Women's Penitentiary with Sr. Pauline. The man who has been matched with Lance is Robert Davis, a Marine, wounded in the Vietnam war. Robert lost both legs and a hand when he stepped on a land mine. Sadly he also lost his best buddy who tried to save him by throwing himself on top of Robert. Then during the evacuation with Robert, the helicopter rotor blades touched off a tree top mine which caused the helicopter to explode. He came to in another helicopter as they were rushing him to the hospital when he found out that his buddy had died. He was in several hospitals, including one in the Philippines and the naval hospital in San Francisco.

Robert has been alone since the 1980s. He has had no attendant and he was very lonely until he was matched Lance. He said that he talks all the time to his dog and Lance never stops listening. Robert said that one time he nodded off in his chair and dropped the television remote control. He woke up to see Lance holding the changer in his mouth by his knee, looking up to him. They are learning together; it takes awhile until they can become a working team.

Robert wants to make the public aware of service dogs, especially for the wounded Vets. He is quite a talker and you can tell, a military man.

He has two sons. One son lives near him and he has a 17 year old granddaughter who wants to be a veterinarian or a veterinarian technician.

We'd like to take this time to acknowledge each and every one of you. You are all making this possible and changing lives. You cannot imagine the difference that you have made in the lives of these 2 dogs and these 2 very brave men that have sacrificed so much for us. We want to thank you on behalf of Barkley Ventures, Inc for supporting Dog Bless America and our commitment to giving back to the community. It is only possible with you and your efforts. As Sr. Pauline said, "if we only help one, we've made a difference." As we write this our hearts are so full of gratitude for you and this opportunity.

We invite you to revitalize your own Dog Bless America programs today and together, lets support Robert and Lance. Thank you all so much for your efforts.


Barkley Ventures, Inc.


Barkley Ventures, Inc. 836 S. 60th. St. Milwaukee WI 53214

Friday, June 27, 2008

Prisoners Train Dogs for Wounded Marines

Camp Lejeune Prisoners Train Dogs for Wounded Marines Peter Biello

WILMINGTON, NC (2008-06-27) Prisoners at the Camp Lejeune Marine Base Brig are doing something no military prisoners in the US have done before: they're training dogs to help Marines wounded in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The dogs will perform more than seventy different tasks for their disabled owners, and for their able-bodied trainers, the dogs perform another service.

Twenty-three year old Mark wakes up at oh-five-hundred in the long, hollow bedroom he shares with nearly a dozen other prisoners in the brig at Camp Lejeune. Brig rules won't allow us to use Mark's last name. Along side his narrow cot is a cage, and inside that cage is Mark's constant companion, a black Lab mutt named Roxy.

Mark and another prisoner take care of Roxy. Mark is one of a select few prisoners enrolled in a special program guided by Carolina Canines, a dog-training company based in Wilmington.

"Being an inmate here, you constantly think about what you did. And it creates a nagging thought in the back of your head that's always there," Mark says. "But having someone like Roxy be a companion for you and reciprocate the love back to you, it takes your mind off those thoughts."

Someday Roxy will serve Marines injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And don't call what Roxy does tricks. Mark says he and his partner have been teaching her skills.

"She can retrieve items really good. She's just learning to retrieve clothing items and put them in the laundry basket and put them in the washing machine. She's just now learning to mess with the light switch, turn it on and off."

Trainers from Carolina Canines visit the brig a few times a week to guide lessons and dole out homework assignments. Outside in the brig's fenced-in courtyard, trainer Vicky Wilcox shouts instructions to Marines dressed head-to-toe in their orange brig-issued jumpsuits.

"You wanna just tuck your leash in your pouch and use yourself and your little cookies to motivate your dog to stay with you."

Rick Hairston, president of Carolina Canines, says the program is a way for these Marines to atone for what they've done. And because they're able to make good use of their time behind bars, Hairston says he's noticed that these Marines are the only ones in the whole brig who smile.

"They've got a chance to do some things that nobody else is doing, and so they have a new leash on life, so to speak."

Eventually the dogs will be able to open refrigerators and complete bank transactions for their wounded owners. Those skills are hard to learn, so the dogs practice an easier exercise, a slow, careful walk through an obstacle course made of white plastic pipes.

And before they go back inside the brig for more training, the Marines lead all the dogs to the chain link fence surrounding the courtyard. Then, on command, it's business time.

"They're all in sync?" I ask.

"They're taught to go potty on command," Hairston explains.

"Not together at the same time."

"But that's what they were doing, right?"

"They were just given the command at the same time," Hairston says. "Thing is, you get ready to go on an airplane, you go to the bathroom, right? These dogs can't. So they have to totally eliminate before they get on an aircraft."

Once inside the brig, Roxy's trainer Mark puts her in a harness. Then a Marine in a wheelchair grabs the harness, and with a little encouragement, Roxy pulls him across the smooth brig floor. For her next lesson, Roxy learns how to pull a laundry basket.

Mark's face beams with pride as he watches Roxy practice. He says in a place where life can be drab and depressing, Roxy makes him feel alive.

"We messed up. But at least we can do something productive with our time while we're in here. And it's going to benefit a life of someone who really needs it."

Mark says Roxy might be the first to complete the program this summer. When he gets out of the brig in a few months, he says he wants to train service dogs for a living. Mark says he'll miss Roxy, but it's comforting to know she'll be helping a wounded Marine who needs her.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please e-mail us, we'd like to hear from you.