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Veterans get service dogs trained by Nevada prisoners

Posted at 12:30 PM, Nov 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-12 15:35:35-05

Six local veterans received new service dogs that were trained with the help of Nevada prisoners.  

Before Sunday, Mark Willen and Luna had never met. Now, they're best friends. 

"It was great. I got a little choked up."

Willen, who served in the Marine Corps, the Army and National Guard, was surprised with a new service dog -- a way to help him combat post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The dogs work, they work. They have calmed me down."

The veterans got the dogs through a program called Pups, Prisoners and Patriots, run by nonprofit Those Left Behind, which pairs service dogs with veterans and elderly folks in need. 

Last spring, the founder says she wanted to save more dogs that would otherwise end up in kill shelters. But training takes a lot of money. So she turned to Lovelock Correctional Center for help. 

RELATED: Pups on Parole helps rehabilitate dogs, inmates at Las Vegas prison