In June 2015, the Indiana Women's Prison proudly hosted graduation of four ICAN dogs. Purdue, Jordan, Jamie and Dakota, along with all of the wonderful handlers, held their heads high as they walked the ceremonial procession into the beach themed graduation ceremony.
Purdue eagerly awaited his turn for Nicholas to join him up on stage. Jordan calmly waited for his guy, Nathan, to come and get his forever buddy. Jamie showed no concerns about being a successor dog and filling the pawprints of a current service dog, and with a big smile on her face welcomed Ann to the stage, ready to go. Dakota could barely stand being separated from Scott for the brief period they were apart prior to Scott coming on stage to receive him. Each placement was a perfect match and we are so very proud of all the graduates and their families and all of the hard work they put forth the two weeks prior during Team Training.
The celebration was attended by more than 200 guests including family members of both the clients and the handlers, friends, previous clients, volunteers, ICAN supporters, Department of Corrections Staff, and many others who believe in the powers of paws and the miracles that happen at both ends of the leash.
In spite of the hot temperatures, the handlers kept their cool as they spoke about their experience with the clients during Team Training. Nicholas' mother, Carla, shared how Purdue has already begun to make a difference in not only Nicholas' world, but the whole family's world. Andrew Cole, Assistant Superintendent of Re-entry, spoke about how ICAN's program is making an impact on the handlers at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. Attendees watched the powerful video, ICAN Bring Hope. As photos taken during Team Training were played on a large screen, guests were treated to the beautiful voice of one of the handlers. These photos helped to understand all of the time, effort, fun, and emotions it takes to make the partnerships a success. The evening closed with all of the handlers joining together in singing the song, Conqueror.
Please visit our ICAN Graduation Info page to find out when ICAN's 2019 Graduations will be taking place.
View some of the photos from the Graduation Ceremony below! (Photos by Liz Kaye Photography)