Inmates at Hagerstown, Md., Prison, Train Service Dogs For Wounded Veterans
HAGERSTOWN, MD (WUSA) -- Terry Dorsey says of all the difficult things about raising young dogs, one of the most difficult for him is putting them in their crates at night. That's because after serving about 10 years at the Hagerstown Correctional Institution for selling narcotics, Dorsey says he wouldn't wish a life behind bars on his worst enemy, much less his new best friend.
"No matter what happened during the day, you can go to him and he's going to be the same," Dorsey said.
Dorsey, 49, is one of about a dozen inmates at the Hagerstown prison taking part in a brand new program that uses inmates who are veterans, to live with and train service dogs that, after about a year, will be given to wounded veterans who've returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It's an opportunity for me as a veteran to help them guys," said Dorsey, an Army veteran.
Right now, inmates at three Maryland prisons are training a total of seven service dogs, four of them in Hagerstown. By January, seven more dogs are expected to be added to the program, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the entire country.
All the dogs in the program are donated by the organization "America's VetDogs," while local veterinarians have donated their services to take care of the dogs, all of them Labrador retrievers.