A new training center has just opened in Columbus, Ohio. Working Animals Giving Service for Kids (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids) received its first W.A.G.S. puppies in September and is busy preparing them for placement. W.A.G.S. 4 Columbus is a direct branch of W.A.G.S. 4 Kids: all dogs are being trained and placed to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids standards under the supervision of the W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Training Director, Rodney Houghton.
New Columbus Training Manager
Rodney Houghton joined the W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Accredited Apprenticeship Service Dog Training Program in December of 2008 at North Central Correctional Institution in Marion, OH. "It was a way for me to give back to someone in need. Being incarcerated, the community like to look at you as the worst of the worst...useless. It's a great opportunity to give back, especially to kids with disabilities. It's made me a better person." says Houghton.
Now, he has lost count of how many dogs he's had the opportunity to train - how many children and families whose lives have been changed. He just knows, he's one of them.
"Sometimes it's hard to put into words. The first time I received a letter from a child who had received a dog that I had been a part of training...it was overwhelming. It brings tears to your eyes. To finally be able to put a face with the name of the child and hear their story of how much that dog truly affected their lives, it's really humbled me. It made me realize how important this program really is. It's definitely a blessing"
"It not only changes the lives of the child that the dog's going to go to, but it also changes the life of the inmate too. It gives them a purpose in life, makes them feel valuable. We appreciate the opportunity that W.A.G.S. gives us to give back to the community."