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Nick Walczak meets his future service dog behind bars

WKYC Staff, WKYC 5:03 p.m. EDT June 24, 2013

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.

He's one of six dogs in the program where 11 inmates rotate the dogs and train them for WAGS 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.WAGS 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 $16,000 to train and care for. Each inmate approved for the program is trained by a professional. Training the dog can take nearly two years.WAGS4 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 WAGS 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 (WAGS 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.

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