Prison Pups N Pals graduation day bittersweet for Volusia inmates

Dogs graduate in program aimed to help inmates

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – It's been an emotional Thursday for folks at the Prison Pups N Pals graduation at the Tomoka Correctional Institution.

"I just lost two dogs and I was trying to mend my heart and only a dog can do that," said Rose Ogden, who adopted a dog named Jackie.

"She sat down right over here and looked up at me as if to say I'm yours. It was love at first sight," she said.

"We take in 12 dogs every eight weeks and four of those 12 goes to veterans. The other dogs we adopt out to the public," said Officer Gail Irwin.

"You can get caught up in yourself, especially in the situation of being incarcerated. You kind of get into a shell and you can kind of just dwell on yourself. A dog takes you out of that because it's not about me anymore," said Jeffrey Ham, inmate and dog trainer.

Which is why inmate James Lambert said he's also proud to be a part of the six-year-old program.

"It's like you can give back a little bit of what you've taken from society. I made a bunch of mistakes, that's why I'm here. These dogs gives you the ability to give back," said Lambert.

The inmates also said that the graduation was bittersweet.

"This is one of the hardest days because you got to let them go," said Lambert.

If you're interested in learning more about adopting from the Pups N Pals program, click on www.prisonpups.org

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