Puppies Behind Bars

July 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

On July 7th I posted the below blog about the love of dogs.  Going through Time Magazine online http://bit.ly/vWqnf , I came across a story about an incredible prison program that has inmates training dogs for the blind and the disable. The program actually trains a lot of animals for disabled veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What is also remarkable is how much these dogs can change how these once hardened criminals think about themselves and the world.

“The program has taught me to be patient, honest with myself, and how to work without ego. My last dog, Yankee, went to a war veteran somewhere in Colorado. Just knowing that I helped to change someone’s life makes me feel as if I have a purpose and a destiny. These dogs have a way of touching a person’s spirit” says Tyrone, a man who has already served 8 1/2 years in prison.

This program also reminds me of a night I went to the Sony lot to see a screening of shorts directed by young men who were incarcerated.   This was a program run by a number of filmmakers in California who wanted to reach out to these youngsters and hopefully repurpose their lives. What was really interesting, was that every short was about love; either love or lack of for a girlfriend or a mother.

As the Beatles used to sing “All you need is love” it seems that the service dog program and the youth filmmaker’s program are a testament to that.

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Previously posted on July 7th 2009

I got a dog six months after my husband had his liver transplant.  Both Chris and I were extremely allergic and so we could only have a purebred Poodle or a Portuguese Waterdog.

When I was visiting my parents in Brazil in December of 2006, I passed by a pet store with one of my nieces.  When we walked in a caramel toy Poodle was sitting in a box.

He was just so friendly and loving that I had to bring him back to the US.  Chris was waiting for me at the airport with all kinds of toys for the dog.  I had two dogs before but Chris had never had a pet.

Chris fell in love with the dog.  He couldn’t believe that this little animal was always ready to play and to love. He became so much part of our lives that we no longer travelled if we couldn’t bring the little dog with us.

When Chris’ cancer came back and we were making the first trip to Mayo Rochester, we took the little dog with us.  We told others that the reason we were taking him was because we didn’t know where and with whom to leave the dog with, but the truth was we needed him.  We needed to have this being, full of love and always playful, to help us through the first set of diagnosis and tears.

As the time went on and Chris got sicker, the little dog was his constant companion, always by him and loving him.  Having this little dog giving us so much love helped us to keep going.

It came a time when Chris was too sick and fragile to have him around and I had to make sure the little dog didn’t jump on Chris’ very swollen body. 

When Chris passed, my little dog became very attached to me.  When I laid in bed sometimes not wanting to get up, he laid next to me pulling my hands with his paw and demanding that I pet him.

These days whenever I feel blue I just need to spend sometime with my little dog, his antics bring a smile to my face almost immediately.  And what does he do for me?  He just loves me and I just love him.

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