I was at a prison today doing an audit, and I got distracted by an inmate with a really sweet service-dog-in-training (because I'm a person who gets distracted by dogs now.) Several prisons around here have dog programs, but I don't often get the opportunity to talk at length with the trainers.
He explained that at this point in the training, they don't know how the dog will eventually be utilized. That's determined when they move on and get assessed in their advanced training. Apparently there are more than 65 different disabilities that qualify for free service animals. The inmates do the basic puppy training and work on basic commands and socialization. This guy showed me how he had trained the dog to pick up a wallet, put it's own halter on, and wave good-bye. We talked about his last dog, who has since graduated and been placed with a college professor in Hawaii. He just got a picture and a letter from the dog :)
So in the conversation, he also told me about a friend of his who had passed away in prison last year. This man's dog graduated a few months ago and was placed with the Oregon District Attorney. I immediately thought he meant THE DA, but he clarified that the dog was assigned to the District Attorney's office, and is used as a comfort dog for children who have been victims or witness of violent crime. The dog is trained to sit with them in court and on the witness stand.
After he tells me the story, he said, "Isn't that cool? It's like full circle! This man, who created so many victims in his life, helped train a dog that's providing service and comfort to kids who are victims."
Totally makes up for some of the other BS that I see at work