Dr. John Otto speaks in Stillwater, Oklahoma

September 27, 2016


Dr. John Otto speaks in Stillwater, Oklahoma about the Friends for Folks dog training program

On Friday September 23rd, 2016, Dr. John Otto spoke to the Church Women United group about the Friends for Folks organization and the dog training program. The meeting took place at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Stillwater, Oklahoma. After Otto’s speech he answered questions from the audience. One of the questions that Otto answered provides great insight to the positive impact that the Friends for Folks dog training program has on mental health of the incarcerated participants.
Question: How does working with dogs affect the mental health state of an incarcerated person in the Friends for Folks program?
Answer: When a person suffers from anxiety due to a stressful environment, such as living in prison, contact with an animal connects them together in a special way. That connection is powerful. It’s almost like when someone holds your hand or gives you a hug when you’re upset. As a result, that touch will settle a person down and relieve stress. Furthermore the positive change in a person’s attitude can be profound. Inmates in the program have told me that training dogs gives them hope and allows them to feel human again.
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