puppies as transitional services

My framework or/and topic reminds one of my friends an NPR radio show talking about puppies, which are part of a multi-purpose transition program called Puppies Behind Bars. There are two phases of the program. First part is the education of these smart dogs either for service dogs for veterans or as bomb-sniffing dogs. For education, they assign each puppy to an inmate who carries certain qualities and who is close to her/his release . The program can last six to twelve months, but during the process, the dog becomes an intimate and natural way for these inmates to transition to the outside world. They become the compassionate partners that do not judge or stigmatize their teachers. The education of dog at this phase becomes a service itself, helping inmates facilitate their transitions. but wait it is only the first phase.

once they finished their education, they are assigned to veterans who have returned from military service(mostly iraq) with some traumatic-disorders or phobias like claustrophobia. These soldiers probably had terrible experiences in uncanny corners or crowds in the battle field, and lost their trust to their environment. Puppies intervene into this type of loss and become friends or care-givers, checking corners or closed spaces and let their partner know it is ok to move on.

It does sound  a little bit teddy bear – the utmost cliche transition object- when you first heard, however, it is much more elaborate, elegant, and experiential; it also hints at the education topic as a strong companion and variation for transition topic…