GRAFTON, Ohio (CNN) – Inmates and puppies in Grafton, Ohio are making a difference for kids in need.
At a recent holiday party in Grafton, hard-core prison inmates, dogs and Chardon High School shooting survivor Nick Walczak gathered.
The reason? A big reunion for nick’s service dog, Turner, trained by Wags4Kids and Rodney Houghton, who’s currently locked up in a state prison.
Houghton and 23 other inmates get a chance to live with and train a dozen puppies.
“You do have an emotional attachment to the dog, but there is a greater purpose for it, and you learn that over time,” Houghton said.
When the pups reach the stage of talented service dogs, Wags4Kids matches them up with a child in need.
Tucker’s trainer Rodney is serving a 13-year sentence for armed robbery.
If an inmate breaks the rules of the wags4kids program they get the boot as a trainer.
“When I was shot, I was put in this wheelchair,” Walczak said. “Now this wheelchair is an extension of me, but with the wheelchair came Turner, so that is a blessing.”
The trainers almost never meet the people they help.
“They are making a difference with every dog they train for every kid,” Walczak said.
Or see the dogs they train ever again.
“For him to come in here amongst us inmates and trust us and believe in what we do is an awesome thing,” Houghton said.