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Inmate service dog trainers get winter boots thanks to local manufacturing company

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PAWS

When a local non profit needed help providing winter boots to inmates at the Logan Correctional Center in order to train service dogs, a Peoria Manufacturing company answered the call.

Because of 60 pairs of boots, 120 feet and 96 paws will have the chance to give those with disabilities freedom and independence for the rest of their lives.

Among the day to day hustle and bustle at local manufacturing company, Alcast, a choice to make a donation impacted those with feet and tails.

Paws Giving Independence is a local non-profit.

"They're training service dogs that are able to help people with all matters of disabilities and they're able to rescue dogs from the shelters for their service dogs." said Brent Gregg, a Manufacturing Engineer at Alcast

"What we're doing now mainly is wheelchair mobility and medical alert." said Donna Kosner, one of the founders of Paws Giving Independence. "So for someone who's in a wheelchair it gives the person independence to be able to go to the mall, go to work and know that the dog is there watching over able to alert, hit a button, find help with someone else in the house."

They partner with the Logan Correctional Center where there are approximately 24 service dogs being trained by the inmates right now. According to Paws Giving Independence the inmates thought they had secured funding last year for 60 pairs of winter boots. Unfortunately that fell through.

"They really need winter boots because they have an outdoor area to train the dogs and an agility area out there and a place for them to go and exercise." said Kosner

That is when Alcast answered the call.

"Our engineer Brent Gregg came to me, his mother volunteers out there and he told me about the program and it sounded like a great cause and I felt like it would be a great thing for Alcast to do." said Steve Wessels, the President of Alcast

An animal lover himself, President Steve Wessels decided they would fund the whole project.

"I was moved to tears because one, I know what it means to these inmates and to those dogs but also for a community." said Crystal Radee, a Board Member for Paws Giving Independence, "It just really moved me that they would be able to invest in this whole project for these women and these dogs."

"It's just surprising how great an impact a little thing can have." said Wessels

Paws Giving Independence runs entirely with volunteers. The program at Logan gives the inmates not only a way to give back, but job skills and rescues animals from shelters. PGI places its dogs free of charge.  To learn more click here.

Kaitlin Pearson

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