Nick Walczak Meets His Future Service Dog Behind Bars

6:57 PM, Jun 24, 2013 | 4 comments

Monica Robins
MARION — For the past several months, Turner’s been an inmate at the North Central Correctional Complex.

Behind barbed wire he’s learning skills to carry him through life.

But Turner doesn’t have a prison number. He has four legs and fur and soon he’ll be Nick Walczak’s friend to freedom. Walczak survived the Chardon High School shootings back on Feb. 27, 2012.

Turner is a Golden Retriever who is being trained by inmates specifically for Nick’s needs.

Related story: W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Inmates with time training service dogs

He’s one of six dogs in the program where 11 inmates rotate the dogs and train them for W.A.G.S. 4 Kids — an organization that trains and matches service dogs that provide therapeutic, emotional and physical support for children with disabilities and their families.

Each dog is specially chosen as a puppy to be trained for a child. W.A.G.S. 4 Kids is a non-profit organization that survives solely on donations.

Each family is asked to have a fundraiser to help “Pay it Forward,” not for their dog, but for the next one to go to a child in need.

These animals can cost up to ,000 to train and care for. Each inmate approved for the program is trained by a professional.

Training the dog can take nearly two years. W.A.G.S. 4 Kids covers the cost of all veterinary needs, food, supplies and training. The professional trainers often travel two hours or more to the prison to meet with the inmates and help train the dogs.

The dogs are rotated through the inmates so they learn to take commands from different types of people. It’s also to help prevent bonding between inmate and dog.

To donate to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, including specifically for Nick’s fund, click HERE.

The organization is also having a charity fundraiser Wednesday, June 26.

Working Animals Giving Service 4 Kids (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids) is calling all of Cleveland’s fun, single, charity-minded men and women to attend Cleveland “Have a Heart” Charity Bachelor Auction at Wilbert’s in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday, June 26from 6 p.m.-10 p.m.

This fun and unique event will introduce 25 of Cleveland’s most eligible, single men being auctioned off for a custom date.

Click HERE for more information about the event. You don’t have to be single to attend.


12:09 AM, Jun 25, 2013 | 0 comments

Monica Robins

MARION — Some of them are murderers, but all of them are behind bars because of a crime they’ve committed. But nine of them are using that time to give back to society and make a difference in a child’s life.

W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, a non-profit charity organization trains and matches service dogs that provide therapeutic, emotional and physical support for children with disabilities and their families.

Related story: Nick Walczak meets his future service dog behind bars

They survive on donations and each family that gets a dog is asked to hold a fundraiser, not to pay for their dog, but to pay it forward, and pay for the dog that will go to the next child in need.

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