Gretna, FL --May 16, 2012--
They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But one local prison is doing just that.
Just a few miles over the Gretna border, sits the Gadsden Correctional Facility. The private, medium security women's prison is home to more than 1500 inmates. And about a dozen, four legged, furry guests.
Every several months, greyhounds will pass through Purple Hearts Program, learning the skills necessary to become a worthy companion for a veteran suffering from post traumatic stress.
" A lot of us are in here because we made a selfish decision. And to be able to help someone one who made a self-less decision, to be able to help them, in here, is an awesome feeling," says Dixie Kennedy an inmate who trains the dogs.
The dogs are retired from the tracks and are trained by the inmates as they start their second career. They learn to do everything from turning on lights to giving hugs and kisses. But the dogs aren't just students. In some ways they're teachers.
"It's been a learning experience for me too, becoming a part of a team and working with someone and working together. That's made it wonderful," says Donna Buchanan, an inmate who trains the dogs.
Teaching them it's never too late fresh start. Never too late for second chance.
The program is self-funded by Management and Training Corporation and The Greyhound Foundation. The greyhounds are sent to veterans all across the country, free of charge. The dogs are up to date on all their shots and vaccines.