Inmates train dogs to serve disabled vets, others
Article Image

OSHKOSH, Wis. (Stars & Stripes & Tribune News Service) — Tansi's journey to Mike Henningsen's side is an unusual one that includes a stint behind bars.

Tansi doesn't know she lives in a prison, all she knows is the kind embrace and loving care of men who committed crimes and are now training her to become a disabled Vietnam veteran's companion.

The black Labrador retriever is being trained to pick up items dropped by her soon-to-be owner Mike Henningsen and help him remove socks from his prosthetic leg. She's one of several dogs Oshkosh Correctional Institution inmates are training to work as guide dogs for blind people and as service dogs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and other ailments.

"We have a high interest in inmates giving back to the community," said Warden Judy Smith. "The benefits for the institution and inmates have probably had more of an effect than we expected. We have inmates who haven't seen a dog in 20 years."

Read full story here