Dirs. Geeta Gandbhir & Perri Peltz
This documentary focuses on 5 inmates in the Puppies Behind Bars program, which involves New York convicts raise and train service dogs for up to three years. Living with the puppies 24/7, the inmates teach the dogs 99 commands, after which the dogs go on to help war veterans with PTSD.
This film is not the first in terms of showing how raising dogs can positively affect the lives of inmates. In Prison Dogs, we learn about the inmates’ personal lives, how they ended up in jail, and also how they like and at the same time struggle to raise these dogs. They all describe how being part of this program allows them the opportunity to feel like a ‘human being’ again. It shows they can care for another being, and it shows them their own ability to be compassionate.
We also learn about the veterans who have returned from combat trying to find a way back to their old lives and families. The veterans have to deal with extreme anxiety and other forms of distress, after coming home from deployment. Meeting the trainers and the service dogs gives them a new opportunity to learn about the program. The service dogs become more than a companion; they help improve the veterans’ quality of life.
A powerful and moving story, Prison Dogs is a reminder about the necessity to offer those incarcerated a second chance — a chance to show they are indeed human beings capable to love and improve the lives of others.
Saturday, December 10, 3:00PM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Screens with: Seen Through The Eyes of Children