Prison Trained Service Dog Joins Wounded Warrior's Family
Sophie provides therapy for PTSD
ANCHORAGE - They say dogs are a man’s best friend… but not Sophie. She’s more. She’s family.
“Having Sophie kind of helps me forget the world around me and relax and focus on better things,” said Captain Chris Harrington, who’s currently serving in the U.S. Army, stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
His new dog, Sophie, is the latest graduate from the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center’s program that provides wounded warriors with service dogs. She’s trained to provide therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder as well as help with mobility issues and can help a person up if he or she falls.
He was wounded twice while serving overseas, first during an IED attack in December 2006, then a month later in an indirect fire attack during a clearing operation. Captain Harrington says he’s seen the impact dogs like Sophie can have on soldiers.
“In the V.A. there was a dog that visited patients and they had great results. So I think it's a great investment,” said Harrington.
Former Hiland inmate Amber Martin is one of Sophie’s three trainers. She said it’s rewarding to be part of such a great program, and knows Sophie is going to a good home.
“The way that she looks up at them adoringly, you know that's the perfect fit for her. She's going to have so much fun. She's going to be such a great help to that family,” said Martin.
Captain Harrington’s two boys, ages four and six, were thrilled with the new addition and already have a nickname for the pooch. “Sophie Baby!” said the youngest, Aiden.
She’ll primarily be a home dog, but the family can’t wait for some show and tell.
“She's going to get to come to my school,” said six-year old Carter.
“I did promise my fellow soldiers and my commander that I'd bring her in to meet everyone,” said Captain Harrington.
The Harringtons are grateful to the training program and happy to welcome the four-legged friend into their family.
The program at Hiland started in 2007. Sophie is the fifth dog to graduate.