TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma –
The Tulsa County Jail now has a new inmate. He’s furry, has four legs and loves back rubs.
Meet Casper – the therapy dog. He lives deep inside the Tulsa County Jail, in an area that houses mostly veteran inmates who take care of him. He even has his own bunk bed and toys.
“It puts our mind to another place. Sometimes we lay around we think about our past, we get lost in it and sometimes it’s hard to deal with,” said Rex Bonds, an inmate inside the jail.
Veteran Rex Bonds said he served in the Navy for 12 years. He said Casper has helped change the jail’s environment and most importantly is helping other veterans.
“They suffer from post dramatic stress. The dog in here he eases the stress and people need to know that veterans suffer,” said Bonds.
Inmate William French also lives in the pod and although he’s one of the few inmates that’s not a veteran. He says Casper takes a huge burden off almost everyone.
“To have a dog around that we can interact with, to play with, to have fun with it, really does help to get out minds off the outside world,” said French.
Tulsa County Jail Administrator David Parker said Casper fits in perfectly. He says their plan is to tie the therapy dog program in with other veteran services.
“Some of them are having some trouble and have hit a few speed bumps along the way, so we wanted to look out and see what we could do to help,” said Parker.
With the end goal to help veterans.
“Why would you not want your neighbor to have the chance to move on with their life, and if we can introduce something that loves you unconditionally,” said Parker.
Right now employees at the jail are footing the bill. While the program is still new, there is a possibility that it could be expanded to other areas in the jail.