Women serving life sentences at Nebraska Correctional Center train service dogs and get a new outlook on life

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 10:20 PM CST
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For those serving time, especially a life sentence, the days can get pretty long and start to run together.

Giving the women programs can help them focus on positives and help them change their outlook. One such program is seeing remarkable results.

It's Puppy Obedience Training 101. The dogs are getting trained but the women are learning an unexpected lesson as well.

"It's made me more loving, more compassionate, more understanding. I've been here 16 years," said Lora, serving a life sentence.

"I have a new outlook, I was a teenager when I got here, I didn't have anything to look forward to, said Niccole, serving a life sentence.

Now they look forward to training the dogs and the fulfillment they get from giving back.

"Sometimes I don't think there are even words to explain it, it makes me feel wonderful inside, there are so many different emotions that I don't even think I could ever describe," adds Niccole.

After the obedience training the dogs go on to be either service dogs or emotional support dogs.

"He has now gone out into the world and he has his human and helps her with all of her disabilities, that was very monumental in my life this year, I gave back," adds Lora.

Along with training they have to feed and walk the dogs, they even sleep with them in their rooms.

"They can't change how they got here but they can change the impact that they have on the world," said Lori Keller, Public Information Officer, Nebraska Correctional Center for Women.

Each woman has their own personal reasons for getting involved and giving back.

Lora says, "I didn't want to go out of the world being known as a convict or inmate, I wanted to make a difference in the world."

"We want to help people, just because we are inmates does not mean we are bad for the rest of our lives, we can change and help the rest of the community," adds Niccole.

The program is in its fifth year and right now they have eight puppies in the program.

The obedience training is done in conjunction with Domesti-Pups, they come to the facility once a week to train the women.

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