Sen. Bennet makes good on campaign promise: Family gets dog

6:00 AM, Dec 18, 2010   |    comments
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DENVER - Children will forget their shoes, forget their manners, forget their homework, but they rarely forget a promise made to them by mom or dad. This is especially true when dad just happens to be Senator Michael Bennet. His daughters Caroline, Halina and Anne were focused on just one thing the day after the election.

"The only business they wanted to deal with after the election was getting a dog. That was job number one and they managed to do it," Bennet said.

Bennet says in many ways his daughters and wife were more productive than the U.S. Senate, choosing their dog in just one day without fighting about which one was best.

The girls and their mom, Susan, found their dog through the Colorado Cell Dog Program. Dogs rescued from shelters across statewide are brought into the Prison Trained Dog Program (PTDP) for obedience training; including lessons involving house training, crate training, sit, sit-stay, down, down-stay, come when called, basic heeling on lead and even a few tricks.

After meeting several dogs, the Bennet girls picked a small, black, Pomeranian mix. They decided to name the dog Pepper, because he had lots of pep and they say his personality was kind of "spicy."

After a few weeks of training, Pepper performed for Susan and other future dog owners at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility. His trainer, Christina Collins explained why it's such a privilege to do this job.

"When you have a pet you feel free, you feel like you're a part of something again, because in here, they shut you down and cut you off from everything you love and everything you care for," Collins said.

Collins taught Pepper how to run and jump through a hoop, to sit up and roll over. She says his favorite thing to do was to cuddle and look out the window. While giving Susan Bennet a few more tips on how to communicate and discipline Pepper, she asked for a letter or two about him and his progress.

Pepper is now the newest member of the Bennet family.

"He's really changed our life because he's always there and he brings us to school and he picks us up from school," Caroline said.

As a result, the other male in the family is feeling a little bit left out.

"I came back from Washington and Pepper had been in the house for two days, and he had decided in that period of time that his job was to protect my family from me," Senator Bennet said jokingly.

The girls say Pepper secretly loves their dad. Afterall, he did live up to his promise.

For more on the prison training program go to www.coloradoci.com/?puppy.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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