Thursday, January 2, 2014

The hand off

Saturday, August 31, 2013
Sammy and August make four

Tammy and I have an early morning rendezvous in Mackinaw. She and her family are camping in the area during the Labor Day weekend; I drive two hours from home with FLD Dutch. My Prius should be secure for the day, parked on a side-street beneath the bridge.

The packages are safe in a crate in Tammy's car. We head north over the Mighty Mac - our target destination for the hand off is the Chippewa Correctional Facility, or "URF" in Michigan Department of Corrections speak.

ARUS* Rob Batho meets us in the parking lot. Behind the fence, inmates watch us unload. We leave everything behind except what's need for the two new residents, Sammy and August. Once cleared and IDs exchanged, we enter Pike Unit.

The meeting room is reeking with anticipation of the drop. Brawny tattooed inmates become eight-year-old boys before our eyes as we hand them two wiggly, furry, seven-week-old puppies. Black Lab Sammy and yellow Lab August will be their charges for the next 10 to 12 months.
A photo collage of four men prisoners, all are wearing the blue shirts of their prison uniforms. The top left is an African American with corn rows in his hair, he is holding a small black lab puppy in his lap with his left hand on its head. Another inmate is blurry in the background - he has a big smile on his face.The upper right is a white man with longer grey hair holding a yellow lab puppy on his lab cradled in his left arm and hand. The lower left is a younger man holding the same black lab puppy on his back with both arms/hands. The puppy's legs are sticking up and you can just see his belly. The lower right is a younger while man cradling the same yellow lab in his arms like a baby. The puppy is on its back with legs sticking up and belly exposed.
Four inmates pass FLD Sammy and FLD August between them. (Can you see the little boys in all of them?)
Cuddly-ness aside, there is still work to do. Dr. Richard Bennett (DVM) gives the older puppies, FLD Bravo and FLD Drummond, their next round of puppy shots. He physically examines all of them, including FLD Harper and FLD Dutch, who have come along for the ride and are now being handled by the inmate raisers.

A group shot of five men and two puppies. The two men on the left are wearing white t-shirts, one is sitting on a chair, the ohter is kneeling and holding the leash of a small golden retriever puppy that is sitting on the floor and being examined by the vet, a white-haired man with glasses, wearing a light blue shirt and khaki pants. One inmate is sitting on a chair behind the group, he is wearing the blue and orange prison uniform. On the right side in the foreground is another inmate sitting on a chiar holding a leash - he is lookig toward the vet and puppy and wearing the blue uniform. An older golden retriever puppy, wearing the Leader Dog blue working vest, is on the left side straining forward toward the other puppy.
Dr. Bennett checks out FLD Bravo while inmates (and FLD Dutch) look on.

FLD Bravo and FLD Drummond try to hold a sit while FLD Harper is heeled past.

Tammy takes the group out to the yard for training exercises. Drummond and Bravo's raisers are surprised when the puppies seem to have forgotten how to "sit" on cue. "But they know how to do this!" the men insist. It's a great example of how a change in location and added distractions indicate that the puppies have not "generalized" the cue. The raisers see they have more work to do.
FLD Bravo has trouble holding his sit.

FLD Dutch makes me look good when he is calm during a meet & greet between his prison handler and Tammy.

FLD Dutch stays calm during a meet & greet.

The puppy hand off is a success!

FLD Sammy and FLD August are tuckered out!

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