Camp Canine's been around for a year now and so many dogs who might have languished until euthanization in a shelter have gone to loving forever homes. Here's a reprint from an article one of the inmate handlers did for the Luther Luckett inmate magazine, and it's a touching and wonderful look back at the first months of the program:
I’m standing in the Sally Port in Building Two ( you know- the neutral zone between freedom, the visiting room and the yard ) and this morning I have the sweetest doggie in the world with me – my poochie, Stormie. Stormie is now a Canine Good Citizen and graduate from the inaugural class here at LLCC. She is sitting, happily wagging her tail with no real knowledge of what is happening; but on the other hand, I am painfully aware of what is about to take place.
You see, this is what we have been preparing for since she first arrived on that “stormie” day, May 8th. Today I will hand her leash to her new adopted momma and Stormie will be off to start her happy new life. It will be a life free from all fears of ever returning to the pound and being euthanized.
I have talked to so many of you guys with Stormie at my side and so many of you love the program and the dogs. But the one statement that keeps popping up is, “I would get so attached to the dog that I couldn’t give her up.” Well, you were so right! It almost killed me to give her up and watch her walk away to her new life. For those of you who do not know me, I am just a big teddy bear and this should remove all doubt.
Any minute now I will be handing Stormie off to her new owner and so I’m trying not to cry. I’m trying to be tough. The Deputy-Warden, along with Camp Canine staff and members of the Humane Society of Oldham County are here to take a few pictures and watch the hand-off of our first dog to leave, Stormie. I am doing OK at first, you know, trying to be tough. Some pictures are taken and I turn over the leash and everyone starts to leave and it is all good. I am handling this well, when all of the sudden, Ms. Judy (our lead trainer) says, “It’s all right, Mr. G., you gave Stormie the best eleven weeks of her life and we have a new dog all picked out for you.”
Well, guys, that was it. The dam broke and I cried like a little #@#. (Note to self and everyone reading this: if you feel like crying, do it, because if you try to hold it in and then can’t, the resulting scene may include snot bubbles). OMG, I cried like a big baby and I was never so glad to have a hanky in my life.
Well, I have had time to look back on all this now and can honestly say this has been the best three months of my 23 ½ year bit.
Stormie is gone now, and while she will always hold a special place in my heart, I now have “Thunder” to train and care for. The dogs are very different in a lot of ways, but they have one thing in common: unconditional love.
I would be remiss if I did not thank the LLCC staff, Oldham County Animal Control, LaGrange Animal Hospital and, especially, The Humane Society of Oldham County for making the best program in Corrections available to us. I say all the time that these are all our dogs. What I do is train them and pick up the poop.
Wanna make snot bubbles come from the noses of our big bad handlers? Then visit our petfinder pages, look for Camp Canine in the description and take one of our dogs home! http://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?shelterid=KY281