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Michael F. Easley

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Theodis Beck

North Carolina Department of Correction

For Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Mildred Spearman
Date: June 8, 2004 Phone: (919) 716-3700

Department of Correction graduates first class of guide dogs
Dogs ready for next step in helping the blind

McCAIN — On June 11, 2004, the Department of Correction and Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. will celebrate the successful graduation of the first class of Puppies Assisting with Sight (PAWS), a joint effort between the Department of Correction and Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. to train guide dogs for the blind.

The dogs arrived at McCain Correctional Hospital in March 2003 as eight-week-old puppies.  Since that time, correctional staff and inmates worked with staff from Southeastern to teach basic obedience, house training and socialization to the puppies. The dogs now will return to Southeastern’s home office in Florida for six months of additional training.  After training is completed successfully, the dogs will be assigned to act as guide dogs for the blind.

The graduation ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2004 on the grounds of McCain Correctional Hospital.  Immediately following the ceremony, there will be an opportunity for the media to interview program participants and obtain photographs and video of the inmates working with the dogs. 

Journalists planning to attend the graduation ceremony should notify the Public Affairs Office at (919) 716-3700.  Reporters and photographers should be present at the prison by 10 a.m. on the day of the event and should bring a valid photo ID.

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DIRECTIONS: Take U.S. 1 to Southern Pines, then N.C. 211 East to McCain.  Look for signs marking the turn off NC 211 to McCain Correctional Hospital.

North Carolina Department of Correction
Public Information Office     4202 Mail Service Center     Raleigh NC 27699-4202
Phone (919) 716-3700      Fax: (919) 716-3795

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