Saturday, 27 November 2021
728 x 90

Dogs begin training for lives in service of veterans through prison program

METROPOLIS, IL — A new class of dogs from Project Hope Humane Society in Metropolis, Illinois, will be training with inmates at Shawnee Correctional Center in Vienna to help veterans.

The goal of the Shawnee Wellness Assistance Therapy Training (SWATT) program is to teach dogs to become companion animals available for adoption by veterans. In June, three dogs graduated from the inaugural class.


Wednesday, Shawnee officials picked up four more dogs from Project Hope to begin the 90-day program. The dogs are Benny, Floyd, Godiva and Cloudy.

For the next six to eight weeks, inmates will train the dogs basic obedience. In the remaining weeks, the training will be tailored to each dog’s personality, as well as to the needs of the veterans who wish to adopt them.

Floyd and Godiva

“The veterans sometimes suffer from PTSD, and it’s been shown that dogs help veterans with their anxieties,” said Project Hope board member Susan Howell. “It fulfills a need for veterans who need the companionship. And it’s just, like I said, a win-win situation. We love it.”

Howell was at the graduation ceremony of the previous class. She remembers how the inmates praised the program.

“I knew it would be, you know, probably make an impact on them. I didn’t realize how much. But, it was also very moving to see that it had affected them, and it was making a difference in what they do every day,” Howell said. “It helps the offenders at the prison —gives them work to do, kind of a sense of purpose.”


Inmates who train the dogs will each get a CGC-Ready certification, which can help improve their resumes or land them a job when they are released.

Although the new class of dogs won’t graduate until Nov. 1, veterans interested in adopting them can contact Project Hope now to begin the process. Visit to fill an application or call 618-524-8939. Veterans do not have to live in the Local 6 viewing area to be eligible.

Organizers hope to eventually expand each class to include six dogs.

You can find out more information about this story and others by following Chris Yu on Facebook and Twitter.

Related Articles


The Bark Box

« »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Email Updates
Get the latest content first.
We respect your privacy.