Service dogs graduate from Domesti-Pups after spending a year training with inmates

Three service dogs were handed over to their new owners Monday after spending a year training with inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.

One of the inmates who’s lead the team who trains the dogs is Angelo Pedrosa. He’s been involved with Domesti-Pups for almost three years.

“To see what these dogs do for people, for the illnesses they have, they’re saving lives,” Pedrosa said.

He said it’s why he gets up every day and why he’s been motivated enough to train five dogs.

Two of which graduated in this class.

One named Spencer, who is trained to be a mobility assistance dog, and another named Dakota, who has been nick-named the “jack of all trades” dog.

She’s trained in seizure and glucose detection as well as mobility assistance.

She’s going to Brittany Riley, a Lincoln woman.

Dakota is her second service dog.

“I developed epilepsy and a low blood sugar condition so I needed a dog trained in more than what Jake was,” Riley said.

Riley said Dakota is going to bring her some peace of mind in her job as a vet.

“To at least get an alert about my glucose being low before it gets to the point where I have to tell my tech I’m going to faint in five seconds,” Riley said.

It’s not just benefiting Riley or the other recipients, it’s making a world of difference for everyone involved.

“The dogs help the inmates, the dogs help the staff, the individual, and therefore the inmates get to help someone else,” said Michelle O’Dea, director of Domesti-Pups said. “Obviously they’re here for a crime they committed but they have the opportunity to give back.”

Pedrosa said it’s changed his outlook on life.

“I can look up now and walk with a little bit of pride and self respect that I didn’t have before,” Pedrosa said.

Pedrosa was also certified as a service dog trainer Monday, a skill he said he’s going to take with once he leaves prison.

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