A-DOG Thanks Those Who Contributed to Prison Pups Success

Kathleen Dennehy, volunteers from Bristol County Sheriff\'s office, Shine, Lynn Bissonette, and Alice Bouvri

(Left to right) Commissioner Kathleen Dennehy, Bristol County Sheriff’s office volunteers Deputy Robert Clavin, Major Laura Brook and Deputy Paul Douglas, with Shine, Superintendent Lynn Bissonnette, and film maker Alice Bouvrie (all photos by Roslyn Smith)

by Sue Doctrow on behalf of A-DOG board

A-DOG’s screening of Prison Pups on May 22 at the Regent was a great success, with over 150 humans, and a few lovely service dogs, coming out on a rainy evening to join us. We were able to raise funds for our organization, as well as to enable A-DOG to send a contribution to NEADS. In addition, we believe that several attendees were so moved by the film that they made private contributions to NEADS with the envelopes provided on site. (For those who haven’t read the previous May, 2008 post on this, please do so to learn more, but here is a summary. NEADS is a Princeton, MA based organization dedicated to training dogs to assist the disabled and hearing impaired. Prison Pups is an award winning documentary film that follows four inmates of a local minimum security prison as they participate in a program to train dogs in basic obedience in preparation for their advancement through the NEADS training program.)

We want to thank our special guests who volunteered their time to make this evening the success that it was. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of Arlington film maker Alice Bouvrie, who not only shared her film with us, but also participated in a very informative discussion with the audience and other guests. We’re also most grateful to Kathleen Dennehy, former Correction Commissioner of Massachusetts, for her truly riveting talk introducing the film and describing how the training program benefits not only the clients who will receive these NEADS service dogs, but also the inmates themselves who found so much satisfaction through their work, and the bonds they formed, with their canine charges. These themes were echoed by the remarks of Lynn Bissonnette, MCI Framingham Superintendent who described her own experiences with the challenges and benefits of this program. We also are most grateful to volunteers from the Bristol County Sheriff’s office who made the long trip from North Dartmouth to appear and provide their own insights, and to introduce us to the beautiful yellow lab Shine. These include Major Laura Brook, administrator of the women’s unit, and K9 Officers Deputy Paul Douglas and Deputy Robert Clavin. There were other volunteers in the audience, including those who brought NEADS dogs in training. If anybody can identify volunteers that we’ve not named, please do so in the comments section so that they can be properly acknowledged.

In addition, we are most grateful to the businesses who so generously donated gifts for our door prizes. These are, in no particular order: Go-Play (Arlington), Starbucks (Arlington Heights), Lakota Bakery (Arlington Heights), Animal Spirit (Cambridge), Trader Joe’s (Arlington Heights), Dogma and Catma Too! (Somerville), AcmeCouture handcrafted doggy apparel (Lincoln), and Bonprise Designs handcrafted jewelry (Arlington). We thank the Regent Theatre, too, for making their venue and their friendly staff available to us at a nonprofit discount.

We thank our A-DOG family member, Michael Ruderman, for serving — with his usual poise and wit — as our Master of Ceremonies. We are very grateful to our sister organization SomDog of Somerville, for helping us to promote the screening. We have so appreciated the advice and encouragement of SomDog’s Lisa McFarren and were delighted to see Lisa and her husband Justin at the event. And, finally, we thank all of you who attended our screening and appreciate your interest in this topic and your support of A-DOG and NEADS.

Several people have told us that they were unable to attend this screening, but that they’d love to see Prison Pups. The A-DOG board has voted to buy the licensed copy of the film to sponsor future showings at smaller community sites, perhaps in collaboration with dogowners organizations in other communities. Stay tuned for announcements of these events!

Julia Ruderman meets a NEADS service dog

Deputies Douglas and Clavin introduce ShineNEADS dogs and their handlers

Young attendees meet a NEADS service dog in training

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