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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

How Mya Saved Jacob

Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York consists of commanding, institutional-looking brick buildings enclosed with fences topped with spools of razor wire. The only women’s maximum-security prison in New York State, it holds 840 inmates, some of them notable. Pamela Smart, Amy Fisher, Jean Harris, and Kathy Boudin have all been housed here. And so was Mya. Her mother, a breeding dog owned by an organization called Puppies Behind Bars, conceived the dog and bore her inside the prison walls in January 2008. Mya and her siblings trained for two years, two of them at bomb detection, Mya and a fourth helping veterans with psychological disorders.

Gloria Gilbert Stoga, the president and founder of Puppies Behind Bars, chose the training venue. Puppies Behind Bars got its start 13 years ago, after Gilbert Stoga read about a veterinarian in Florida named Thomas Lane who had begun enlisting inmates as dog trainers. Prison gave inmates plenty of time to work with the dogs, and the rigid schedule proved ideal for a strict training regimen.

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For information contact:
National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535
Email: PublicRelations@Purpleheart.org
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