Martin Work Camp welcomed the addition of 8 purebred Golden Retrievers to its recently relaunched dog training program in May 2019.
Bred and raised by its community partner, New Horizons Service Dogs, the dogs are service dogs in training. Inmates in the Martin Work Camp dog program will socialize and train the dogs, who live on site in the dormitory.
“Our prison programs perform an invaluable service for New Horizons,” says Marti Hohmann, the program coordinator for New Horizons. “They train with incredible skill and kindness, and our dogs make great progress while in their care. They not only teach them basic, intermediate, and advanced obedience, but also introduce service dog task training like retrieving, opening and closing doors, and assisting with balance and brace work.”
The dogs chosen for the Martin program are Fergus, Gregor, Wallace, Axel, Rizzo, Fozzie, Renegade, and Sport.
“We hope to ramp up to 12 dogs within the next few weeks. We are grateful for the support Martin has offered under Warden Robert Bryner, and look forward to a successful partnership,” added Hohmann.
Founded and managed by CEO Janet Severt, New Horizons Service Dogs is a 501(c)3 based in Orange City, FL, that has placed more than 700 dogs throughout the state of Florida. They are partnered with 5 institutions in Southern Florida. Its dogs help people who have mobility issues, PTSD, or autism.
Department of Corrections dog training programs offer 4 levels of vocational certification. Certificates are based on hours accrued in the program, skills demonstrated, and coaching and teaching ability.