Prison Pups back in Rochester following pandemic

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(ABC 6 News) – After a two-year hiatus, a program called Prison Pups is back in the Med City.

The organization, “Can Do Canines,” trains puppies to be service dogs for people living with disabilities like hearing loss, seizure disorders, or childhood autism.

Seven dogs arrived at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, a federal prison for male inmates requiring specialized or long-term medical care. Here, they will spend the next six months training and living with selected inmates through the program.

The program, which started over 15 years ago, only recently came to Rochester in 2018. The program is not only beneficial for the dogs and training purposes, but the pups also win over the hearts of inmates too. Everyone is happy to have them back.

“The inmates and the staff are all just extremely excited,” said Prison Program Manager for Can Do Canines, Kaity Pollard. “Having a dog in prison is life-changing. The handlers are extremely dedicated to these dogs and they have missed having them, so we actually do have some handlers returning which is great. I was there last week and they were telling me how excited they are to have these dogs back because it hasn’t been the same since we had to remove them.”

Even these pups need a break at times. Every so often, the puppies are pulled out and put in volunteers’ homes for training breaks over the weekend.

Volunteers can host the puppies as frequently as they want. Anyone can apply, no puppy experience necessary.

Can Do Canines is looking for more than 20 volunteers. More information can be found here.