Prison Dogs: A Film of Love and Growth


This tear-jerking film was a documentary of many metamorphosis occurring at once. The growth of a prisoner throughout two years, the knowledge of a puppy into an adult service dog, and the growing bond between the blossoming prisoner and the dog they are training. This documentary also shows the evolution of three military veterans who went to war, came out different, and took on the challenge of finding a service dog to help them get their lives back.

This heartwarming film takes us on a journey of love, growth, and bravery. For the prisoners taking on the challenge to train a service dog within a two year time frame, they are given the second chance to prove themselves as honorable and hard working citizens. Guided by a passionate, and sometimes temperamental, women named Gloria Gilbert Stoga, that only wants the best for both the dogs and inmates and eventually the military veterans. She guides the inmates for two long years and wept at the graduation ceremony as she watched all their hard work come to an end. For one inmate their goal of training a service dog came to a shocking end when his dog was not chosen to become a service dog. Instead she was released as a pet.

However, just because the inmates goal was not fully met, does not mean that those two years were a waste. That inmate transformed throughout the process, becoming a better and more determined person, and for that he was released from prison early. No one could have loved that dog as much as he did, and many would not have stayed by her side. That inmate was truly a better person at the end of the process, and the dogs failure to become a service dog does not represent who he is as an individual.

From the moment those three Veterans stepped foot into that prison, they were all taking a huge leap of faith and were already on the road to success despite the irony of entering a prison. After two weeks, these veterans were matched with a service dog and left with a deep sense of appreciation to those inmates who took the time to train their dogs to help give them a better life.  

This documentary truly touched the audience and undoubtedly filled their eyes with tears. I know I was not expecting it, but I will admit that I could not hold back my emotions at the end of the film. To see the changes in each inmate, to watch the puppies grow, and to see the veterans lives transform back to normal was an emotional roller coaster. Every soul in this film went through some form of metamorphosis and Geeta Gandbhir and Perri Pelts, the director and producers, did an outstanding job putting this film together and creating the depth of emotion that this film deserves.

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