Helping Hands, and Paws, for Disabled Children

By: Marise Estime
By: Marise Estime

Leona Miller and Joann Harlow are two of 14 Gadsden correctional inmates who are helping change the lives of disabled individuals with the help of dogs, and they're hoping to turn "their lives" around in the process.

Leona Miller says, "I really think it will help me and the people we harm, or citizens in general. I think it takes the negative of them being in prison and turn into a positive one, helping other people, and we can give back to the community."

Joann Harlow adds, "Just knowing that I helped somebody who can't help themselves and just being able to love the dogs and having that opportunity."

For the next 12 to 14 months they'll get an opportunity to love and nurture "Marlo," a golden retriever, while making it a win-win situation for both inmates and the disabled community.

Kathy Kilpatrick of Canine Companions for Independence says, "For us, because of the time and the concentrated effort it takes to train them, we get puppies back at the puppy-hood that are ready for advanced training, hopefully going on to graduate and help a disabled individual."

The individuals will get the ultimate gift of independence from a four-legged friend, thanks in part to these prison volunteers.

Four puppies will be housed at the correctional facility and will be trained by 14 inmates.


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