The author of the heartwarming Craig and Fred tells the deeply emotional and inspiring story of the next phase of their lives together: working closely with prison inmates in Maine who raise and train puppies to become service dogs.
Former US Marine Craig Grossi and his dog Fred appeared on the Today show and Rachael Ray, and in schools, bookstores, and military bases across America as they told the uplifting story of how Craig found Fred, a stray, while serving in Afghanistan—and brought him home. During their travels, Craig was invited to speak at Maine State Prison—the penitentiary that inspired Stephen King’s famous Shawshank. While there, he met a group of very special inmates, participants in a program run by the nonprofit America’s Vet Dogs.
Craig discovered that many of the prisoners are veterans—former soldiers serving their country in an entirely different way: by transforming purebred Labrador Retrievers from floppy puppies into indispensable companions for disabled vets. These service dogs literally and figuratively open doors for men and women, offering hope and a renewed sense of freedom.
Yet these disabled vets are not the only lives changed by these dogs. The inmates who train them “are given a purpose, they’re given experience, and most importantly they’re given a sense of self-worth,” Craig explains. “The men at Maine State are given a second chance—something that I believe everyone deserves.” For Craig, the visit had a profound impact. “There was something special going on inside its walls and it was calling out to me. I quickly realized that the program and its men had something to show the world.”
In this emotionally powerful book, he introduces these men and challenges us to look deeper, to see them as human beings deserving of a new shot at life. “We’re quick to give second chances to celebrities, politicians and famous athletes when they screw up,” Craig reminds us, “but when it comes to those who’ve been convicted for their mistakes, we too often dismiss them as forever lost.” Second Chances poignantly shows that no life is irredeemable and that each of us can make a difference if given the opportunity.