LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — Western New York Heroes and the Niagara County Sheriff's Department have partnered together to bring the "Pawsitive for Heroes" program to the Niagara County Correctional Facility.
The program sponsors the training of therapy dogs, which are then trained in obedience, as well as calming techniques and overall demeanor to assist with veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
For the first time ever in New York State, these dogs will now be training inside a correctional facility. The three dogs selected have been paired with inmates (who were screened and chosen by the jail staff) to live with and train with for the entirety of the 10 month long training process. At that point the dogs will be sent to veterans in need.
"We're really happy about it. You can see changes - and its only been four days," said Officer Bryan Woodburn, the officer who has overseen the beginnings of the training.
The jail staff has been optimistic that the program not only helps veterans struggling with PTSD, but also helps in the rehabilitation of its inmates.
Channel 7 spoke with all three men involved with the program. Henry Stovall, Michael Kornaker, and Lionel "Skip" Carter all expressed their passion and joy with the program - and how it is impacting them.
The dogs have already begun their training program and will be stationed at the Niagara County Correctional Facility until they pass - expected around June 2022.