VIDEO: Prisoners and Puppies Bring Tears on Oprah
Oprah Winfrey wiped away tears on Friday's show as she watched the emotional reunion of Iraq War veteran Sgt. Allen Hill, his service dog, Frankie, and the prison inmates who trained him at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in New York as a part of the Puppies Behind Bars program.
Actress Glenn Close, a supporter of the group, brought the extraordinary reunion to the Oprah show and met with many of the inmates involved in the program, like Roberto, 33, incarcerated since age 17 for second-degree murder.
"I'm happy that [Frankie] made a difference in your life," Roberto said after he embraced Sgt. Allen Hill, who now owns Frankie, the service dog he helped train. Hill suffers from combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury and said the dog had helped him get his independence back after returning from war.
The other inmates involved in the program said that training the guide dogs helped bring love and patience back into their lives. "This is our way of repaying the society that we took so much from," one inmate said during the tearful reunion.
Winfrey, an avid dog lover, was clearly overwhelmed by the segment. "I have always loved dogs, but this has just sent me over the edge here today," she told the audience as she dabbed her tears. "Thank you for serving our country, Sgt. Hill."
Puppies Behind Bars was just one of the spots in an entire animal-themed episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday. It aired in conjunction with the release of the June issue of O magazine, which features Winfrey with her new pup Sadie on the cover.
Click above to see a clip of the tearful reunion on the Oprah show! And, see our interview with Glenn Close.