By Lt. Barry Tisdale AA/PIO
California Health Care Facility
An inmate-trained dog named Tilda is off to fulfill her now deceased trainer’s final wishes by helping crime victims.
In June 2016, Tilda arrived at California Health Care Facility so the pup could be trained by one of the inmates. She was 4 months old when offender Ken Millikan began working with her.
Getting Tilda trained in the basics, Millikan would encourage other inmate trainers to see the program as a way to help make amends for their past misdeeds.
“I cannot change the things I have done in the past, but I can help somebody else have a better future by raising this puppy,” he would often say to the other handlers.
In October 2017, Tilda was turned in for professional training. Within a month of the pup’s departure, Millikan fell ill and passed away.
Tilda is carrying on Millikan’s dream of helping others through her newfound role helping crime victims. Janice, who works with a District Attorney’s Office in Oregon, ensures the dog will be put to good use.
“When we found out Tilda was going to be a facility dog for a Child Assessment unit, we were all thrilled,” said Tina Morones, a compliance coordinator with CHCF. “Janice was also very excited to have received a puppy who had been trained by an inmate. An inmate who because of his crime had made victims and now Tilda was going to be placed to help victims of various crimes; thus creating a full circle.”