Guide Dog Foundation

Press and Events

 What are you doing this weekend (and the next 52)?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2011
Puppies@guidedog.org
(866) 282-8046

            FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – The Guide Dog Foundation and the Massachusetts Department of Correction have partnered for an exciting program that will help provide assistance dogs for people with disabilities and allow inmates to give back to society.

            Guide Dog Foundation puppies will be placed at MCI Framingham, a women’s correctional facility, where they will live with inmates during the week and receive intensive training.Yellow Lab Puppy

            But inmates can’t do it alone. The Foundation is looking for special families to open their hearts and homes and join our family of weekend puppy raisers.

            Weekenders provide vital socialization experiences for these puppies that they can’t get in prison – going to the mall or restaurants, attending sporting events, traveling by car or public transportation. The pups become members of the family and part of the family’s lifestyle.

            Sheila O’Brien, director of external relations for the Guide Dog Foundation, says, “It’s a win-win situation for all involved. We are able to increase our capacity to provide assistance dogs to those who need them, inmates can make a meaningful contribution to society, and correctional facility staff report positive changes in a facility’s atmosphere when the puppies are introduced.” 

            Inmates are carefully screened by prison personnel and must meet stringent criteria before they are accepted to raise and train puppies. They must continue to meet these criteria to remain in the program.

           Black Lab Puppy in Harness 
For a person with a disability, life with an assistance dog means they can do what they want, when they want. The dog provides a new sense of freedom and enhanced mobility.

            “MCI Framingham is very excited about this new initiative and the impact that it will have both on the inmate population and those who are disabled,” says MCI Framingham Superintendent Lynn Bissonnette.

            Individuals and families interested in joining the Foundation’s family of puppy raisers, please contact our puppy department at 866-282-8046 or puppies@guidedog.org. Tell us you’re interested in the Guide Dog Foundation Massachusetts prison puppy program.

            Since 1946, the Guide Dog Foundation has been improving the quality of life for people who are blind, visually impaired, or who have other special needs and who desire the enhanced mobility, independence, and companionship a guide or service dog provides.

To view this press release as a PDF click here.