Retrieving Independence - a nonprofit organization that breeds, trains and place service dogs with children and adults living with physical and mental disabilities - recently graduated six service dogs at Natchez Trace Farms. Held in partnership with the Turney Center Industrial Complex (TCIX), the dogs must complete a five-phase training program. A critical component of the program involves a 12 to 18-month process in collaboration with the TCIX where inmates and dogs are paired together for intensive service dog training. At the end of this phase, the dogs know at least 110 cues and have logged more than 600 hours of training sessions.
Once the dogs are matched to their future owners, the dog undergoes additional concentrated training unique to the needs of their human partner. The January 2017 graduates have been paired with owners ages 14-53.