Kershaw inmates help to train special needs dogs - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Kershaw inmates help to train special needs dogs

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By Stephen Hooker - email

KERSHAW, SC (WIS) - It takes a special kind of dog to learn how to help people with special needs and it takes a special kind of person to train such a dog.

That being said, you wouldn't believe who is actually helping to train the animals. Would be surprised if we told you several inmates at the Kershaw Correctional Institution are actually the trainers?

So why would prisoners take time out of their busy schedule to train a special needs dog?

"It gives me a chance to show that I can do good things for other people," said one inmate.

Warden Cecilia Reynolds has no problem with the program.

"It has a calming effect on the inmates," said Reynolds. "These inmates that are the trainers take great pride in what they do."

Unlike the inmates, the dogs get a weekend pass to foster homes.  On Monday, they return to their cell mate.

"They love the dogs and the dogs love them," said Reynolds.

Eventually, the dogs will graduate and then it's time to say goodbye to a best friend.

"I know it's going to be hard, but the training I'm going to get out of it will help me to help other people and that's what I'm trying to do now," said the inmate.

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