Generosity has many faces and in the case of the Charles Lafitte Foundation, it has a big pink tongue and a snout. The Charles Lafitte Foundation announces a grant to be given to Puppies Behind Bars, a program which trains prison inmates in six tri-state area prisons to raise dogs for law enforcement agencies, the blind and the physically challenged.
Suzanne and Jeffrey Citron of Brielle, N.J., created The Charles Lafitte Foundation in 1999, naming it after one of their beloved dogs. “Our foundation holds a special affinity for dogs, and we are very excited to be involved with a program that is able to create a partnership where everyone benefits and grows –the dogs, the inmates and the recipients,” says Suzanne Citron, Charles Lafitte founder.
Following September 11th the demand for bomb-sniffing and police dogs has quadrupled. Puppies Behind Bars has been continuously selected by the NYPD Bomb Squad and other law enforcement agencies to train dogs to become explosive and drug detections dogs working directly with police to make New York a safer place for residents and visitors alike.
Other puppies trained in the program will go on to become guide and therapy dogs for the physically disabled. Currently, 23 puppies from the program have become guide dogs, allowing their blind users to lead more complete and happy lives, and providing them with constant companionship.
Puppy raisers are carefully screened and evaluated prior to their receiving a puppy, to insure the puppy’s safety. Prison inmates make excellent puppy raisers because of the unlimited time they are able to spend with the dogs, and through the program are taught responsibility, patience and how to give and receive unconditional love – all key aspects of prison rehabilitation.
The success of the program is certainly two fold. “As the puppies mature into well-loved, well mannered dogs, their raisers experience unconditional love, learn to work in a team setting and take responsibility for a live being completely dependent on them” said Annie Teillon, director of development for Puppies Behind Bars.
The mission of The Charles Lafitte Foundation is to provide for and support inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and others around them to lead healthy, satisfying and enriched lives. To fulfill this mission, the Foundation acts as grant-maker, innovator and volunteer for four main programs: Education, Children’s Advocacy, Medical Research and Issues, and the Arts. For more information, visit www.charleslafitte.org.
For more information, contact:
Robin M. Santos