Lori with Sketcher (yellow lab) and

Willie (malinois, Lori's constant companion) 

Bailey was Lino Lakes,  first service dog to graduate from our training program and now is placed with her recipient  and both are doing well.
Click on below,to read story written by Bailey's handler.
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Lino had their first dog, Bailey, graduate from the program in August 2012. I felt very blessed again because of the program and all the combined efforts of staff, offenders, and volunteers. 

One of the offender handlers said " of all the things I've done in my life, this is what I am the most proud of".


Lori, owner and training director of Sunshine Service Dogs is pleased and proud to team up with Minnesota Correctional Facility in Lino Lakes (MCF-LL) in the training of future service dogs.  After months of working out details, on October 10, 2011 the dogs were brought to MCF-LL, and the service dog program begins. Lori has been training dogs for 30-plus years and finds great joy in sharing her special gift with animals.  Lori has extensive experience training dogs for a variety of purposes.  Some of you may be wondering, just what is a service dog? And, why are these dogs here at MCF-LL? 


According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA 1990) a dog that is considered a “service dog” if it has been “individually trained to do the work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.”

 Service Dogs are guaranteed legal access to all places of public accommodation, modes of transportation, recreation and other places to which the public is invited.

The service dog is trained to adapt its lifestyle to offer assistance to individuals with disabilities.  It is extremely important to realize that not all disabilities are visible to the eye.  Service dogs are a reasonably new concept, and we are still learning all the amazing things these dogs are capable of doing to help their recipients. 

Why are the dogs at Lino?  Because MCF-LL is a community and these young dogs need to learn how to live, work, feel secure, and be well-behaved in a community.  By its very nature, a community is diverse and alive with lots of everyday distractions, a variety of noises, smells, and different personalities.  The cooperation of the entire community at MCF (staff and offenders) is vital to the success of this training program.  We ask that each of you show respect to the dogs and their handlers always.  

MCF-LL is the second correctional facility where Lori has started a service dog training program.  The first program started at MCF-Shakopee in 2004, and has been very well received and extremely successful.  To date, 20 service dogs have been trained in part by offenders at Shakopee and successfully placed with grateful recipients in a variety of communities in MinnesotaWisconsinIowa and California.  The offender/handler program is truly a win-win, both for the offenders and the ultimate recipients of the dogs. 


With working with the women at the MCF in Shakopee, it has been an tremendous experience for me, Lori, to see many of the women turning their lives around, taking the opportunity of furthering their education or getting their GED, learning trades, parenting classes, taking drug and alcohol education, within the facilities programs. Having the Sunshine Service Dog program in the facility since September of 2004, the women have trained dogs for Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs. After interviewing the women as to how the service dog program has benefited MCF in Shakopee, is it has given the women an opportunity to restore to the public some of what they have taken away. The dogs make a more relaxed atmosphere within the facility, and have taught the women better communication, goal setting, setting boundaries, leadership skills, and are more confident in everything else they set out to do. The comment was made to Lori that “the classes they have at MCF are very helpful and you can get educated, but the service dog program teaches things you can’t learn from a book”. These are skills they will need to be able to succeed, when the women come back into our communities.

Here is some additional information detailing some of the different services these awesome service dogs provide their recipients. 

Mobility Dogs are trained to assist people with retrieving items, helping them get up and down from chairs and beds.  The dogs help provide balance with walking and using the stairs in addition to assisting with transfers, pulling wheelchairs, light switches, doors, getting clothing on and off, etc.  When needed, the dog will wear a backpack to carry items while on outings.  In short, the mobility dog allows people to be more independent both at home and in public, not having to depend on other people to do simple tasks for them.

 Sensitive Detection Dogs give people a sense of security and freedom. Detection dogs allow people to be at home, or out in public and indicate to them if they may be about to have a problem, allowing them get to a safe place to take care of themselves before the problem worsens.  Sensitive detection dogs are able to detect the onset of seizures among other things.  As for the relationship of their companionship and their detecting abilities, words aren’t enough!

 Hearing Dogs give people security in a world of silence. They let people know when someone is at the door, the phone is ringing, a fire alarm is going off, etc.  They also retrieve items that are dropped and let the recipient know when someone is calling their name.  Hearing dogs also let their recipients know of cars or other motor vehicles coming from behind, babies crying, morning alarms clocks, and even assist in getting them out of bed. Hearing dogs offer security in a silent world.

 Emotional Support Dogs give people a sense of security at home and in public. People who are in need of Emotional Support Dogs don’t feel comfortable in public and sometimes not even in their own home. The security and companionship of an Emotional Support Dog allows them to function in public and at home again.

Whether a mobility dog, sensitive detection dog, emotional support dog, or a hearing dog, they all offer people security, a sense of freedom and independence both at home and in public. As for the relationship of their companion, words aren’t enough!

Therapy Dogs visit the elderly and participate in activities with kids in after school programs; showing off their tricks and running relay races with the kids all under the assistance of their handler.  We now have teamed up with local hospitals, bringing in Therapy Dogs to visit with patients. Therapy dogs aid in the healing process by stimulating physical activity, enhancing memory, and increasing cooperation.  In addition, SunshineService Dogs has teamed up with local libraries to create a time for children to read to trained Therapy Dogs and their human handlers. Studies show that children’s reading skills and motivation are enhanced when they read to a friendly canine partner. The dogs don’t judge or criticize readers; they are just happy to listen to a story.  Therapy Dogs are also very useful in school settings. We have trained and certified Therapy Dogs in schools assisting teachers and school psychologists with many aspects of teaching, motivating, calming, stimulating physical activity, enhancing memory, increasing cooperation, or however the handler feels the Therapy Dog will benefit the children.

Once again, Sunshine Service Dogs is honored and excited to team up with MCF-LL in this outreach program, and is confident staff, offender/handlers, and the entire population will benefit from the service dog training experience. We are looking forward to another successful service dog program at MCF-LL.

 Thank you, Lori



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“..ask the animals and they will teach you and they will tell you.”

Job 12:10