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It’s no secret that dogs are incredible companions, intelligent animals, and loyal friends. When these beautiful canines work closely with human beings, their mission can become that more powerful. Puppies Behind Bars is one of the finest examples that illustrate how dogs can be trained to serve a unique role in society by assisting their owners to function better in daily tasks. These compassionate animals bring a special level of independence and security to those they serve.

Puppies Behind Bars is a successful program where qualifying prisoners work with Labrador Retriever puppies to transform the canines into service animals for wounded military veterans. Many times, the nation’s heroes return home with wounds that aren’t always visible. These amazing dogs help soldiers with everyday routines and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

During training, it becomes a win-win situation for all. The adorable pups are lavished with attention and occasional treats round-the-clock. The dogs undergo rigorous training while living in the cells, and inmates develop a meaningful way to give back to society.

According to the organization, puppies begin their prison stay at the age of 8 weeks and live with their inmate puppy-raisers for about 24 months. Many prisoners find their lives change for the better after raising a dog and training it for service. Most of them cry when the puppy leaves prison, but it’s a very rewarding program whose mission is to help hundreds of individuals every year. The Puppies Behind Bars program is run at women’s and men’s prisons in New York and New Jersey. About 140 inmates participate in the program as puppy raisers.

Puppies Behind Bars provides service dogs to wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The animals are exceptionally trained and can dial 911 on a special phone, awaken the veteran from nightmares, aid in doing laundry, turn on lights, retrieve dropped items and so much more. Most importantly, these dogs allow veterans to feel safe in public.

In addition, these wonderful lab puppies are also trained for first responders as well as explosive-detection canines for law enforcement.

Puppies Behind Bars is proud of its excellent national reputation. About 75 percent of their dogs go on to lead great working lives as service animals. The dogs that don’t graduate are released for adoption.