The New Life K-9 Program at California Men’s Colony (CMC) said goodbye to five dogs who will be placed with veterans and first responders.
The dogs — Faith, Hana, Gregor, Cole and Angel — were given a proper graduation ceremony as they left CMC.
New Life K-9 Program graduates are placed with veterans or first responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
During the ceremony, K-9 recipient Robert described how Hana helps him overcome his PTSD-related depression each day by forcing him to get up on time.
When Robert’s smartphone alarm sounds, Hana carries the phone to the other side of the room. To turn it off, Robert has to walk across the room.
Jeff, paired with Faith, said she helps him remain calm and work through the anxiety he experiences in the workplace.
Incarcerated participants William Leonard and Michael Zambrano said the program has given them the strength to think and act for themselves, helping them become the individuals they were meant to be. They said the program re-humanized them in every way, restoring their ability to live as functioning, upstanding citizens in society.
Since the New Life K-9 Program began at CMC, 49 program participants have been found suitable for parole and left the institutional setting. So far, none have reoffended.
By Lt. John Hill, California Men’s Colony
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