For the first time since the RUFF program began at SCI Houtzdale, inmates are in the process of training eight dogs at once. This is the most that Houtzdale has had inside the institution at one time.
In June, Houtzdale staff and inmates said goodbye to Harper, Keller and Lincoln as they moved into the next phase of their training through United Disabilities Services. On the same day, the program welcomed five new pups.
Harry, Kosmo and Ian are Labrador Retrievers, Kagney is a Labradoodle and Archie is a Standard Poodle. So far the dogs are adjusting well to their new environment.
The handlers and dogs continue to handle all of the uncertainties well. They are taking advantage of the extra training time but also the extra playtime.
Recently, Houtzdale was informed that two of its former dogs (Henry and Kirby) have been placed with prospective clients and are on their way to becoming service dog graduates.
RUFF stands for Relying Upon Furry Friends; when the program started, a contest was held amongst the inmates to come up with a name.