what do you get when you combine veterans
inmates and puppies
You get a unique nonprofitcalled Hero Pups.
– Hero Pups takes shelterand rescue dogs and we then
train them to become support dogs for our veterans and first responders.
The inmate participants, theyvolunteer to train the dogs
with the basic obedience.
We’re in New Hampshireto meet Laura Barker,
a longtime dog trainer who started it all.
– Good! Easy,
The idea of Hero Pups camewhen my son was injured
in Afghanistan and I wasin a military hospital.
I was able to see a therapy dog
help another wounded warrior.
He was engaging.
He wanted to go to his physical therapy.
He wasn’t just focused on the negative.
He was focused on the dog.
He was smiling.
That was my aha moment.
I realized I could use mybackground doing rescue
and working dogs to beable to help others.
– Alright. Hey,
嘿 狗狗 怎么样？
hey, pup, how’s it going?
– [Derek] I went into themilitary right after 9/11.
Went active, did a tour in Iraq.
That’s where I was injured.
– [Michael] We went to meet aveteran named Derek Defelice,
who’s that impact unfoldin his life firsthand
when he was paired withhis Hero Pup named Nala.
– Had PTSD, which ispretty rough on anybody.
Found myself not wanting to go into stores,
not wanting to go out to eat.
Basically turning into a loner.
Now I have somebody that’sthere for me at all times.
I have somebody that’s gonnaguide me in the right way.
– [Laura] The dog doesn’tcare what you did.
It doesn’t care aboutwhat your backstory is.
It cares about right now.
How are you feeling right now and how can I make you happy?
That’s why dogs are special.
– [Derek] If I get one ofthose moments where I’m really
just not happy and I’mreally irate, you know,
she calms me down immediately.
You know, my wife’s got her husband back.
My kids got their father back.
Having the service doghas changed my life now.
Now I’m a totally different person.
– [Laura] Hero Pups was very lucky
and we got a lot ofattention very quickly.
– [Michael] As they got more attention,
their waiting list began to grow.
Particularly when it comesto training the dogs,
they just needed more help.
– So we needed to find more people
that could become a puppy raiser.
So we partnered with the Miramack County Department
of Corrections to help the puppies
be trained in their basic obedience.
– If I could do somethingpositive, you know,
not only does it helpme, it helps the dog.
It helps the vet.
– We knew that these puppiesare gonna have an impact
What we didn’t expect,was how much of an impact
it was gonna have the inmate participants.
– It makes me feel really,really good to help people.
I’ve made my mistakes, butI love seeing people happy.
It’s a feeling that Ihaven’t had in a long time. So,
It’s gonna be sad whenwe have to give them up,
but that’s gonna be thereal gratification for me,
the fact that he’s gon na go off and help people in real need.
– Part of the reason we take so much time
to make the correct teamsand the teams we really feel
are gon na be a fit is
that dog is gon na be with that hero its entire life.
There’s gonna be days thatare harder than others
and that dog is gonna be there.
– Everywhere I go, she’s by my side.
No matter what I do, no matter where I go.
Ability to do that justbrings back before the war.
Before everything changed your life.
It brings everything back.
– [Laura] Being able to usemy background doing dog rescue
and training is that Ican help somebody else.
These service members, in my opinion, deserve every opportunity to feel better.
If providing them a rescue dog will do that, I’m all for it.
– Thanks for watching.
One thing that I couldn’twait to ask Laura about
was her last name.
– [Michael] Do people give youa hard time about your name?
– No, not anymore. (laughs)
But yes, I just married right.
I picked the right guywith the right last name.
He was lucky.