Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sometimes...a photo opp

January 30, 2014

ARUS Rob directs Tammy to park the Leader Dogs for the Blind van close to the Pike Unit gate so the inmate raisers can carry in the 50-pound dog food bags. We hand FLDs Harper, Tara and Copo's leashes off to the men, who are more than happy to take the pups. Harper leaps with joy to see his buddies.

Tammy wants to hand FLDs Ashley and Chewy over the shoulders of their new raisers while everyone else sees the pups first, so she carries them into the administration building with us to check in.

Check in is always a process. We sign our names and entry time into the logbook. We give our driver's licenses to Rob, who disappears and returns with our prison IDs. We declare anything that we are bringing in, like my camera and flash, or Tammy's training bag of distractions. The CO (corrections officer) on duty gives Tammy a key to one of the lockers lining the opposite wall so she can leave the van keys, and anything else we forgot to take out of our pockets that can't go inside the fence. The CO swipes the back of our right hands with some kind of invisible marker.

This time we are asked to walk through a metal detector that is off to the side. A female CO is apologetic as she pats us down and checks the inside of our mouths. Frankly, we are surprised that this doesn't happen every time.

The Pike Unit lunchroom is buzzing with anticipation when we finally get inside. Chewy and Ashley's raisers stand in the middle of the room with their backs to the door. The place is packed with puppies and inmates, prison employees, and a few outsiders. The Bardsleys are here, Paula is snuggling up FLD Copo. Kim, a puppy raiser from the Canadian Soo, is here; an inmate raiser is handling her puppy, FLD Kayla. Judy, a local U.P. resident, is here to learn and observe so she can take a puppy out on furlough.

Between smiles and greetings, I hustle through the crowd so I can position myself in front of the two new raisers.

Sometimes, I know a photo opportunity when I see one...

A close head shot of a young man dressed in a blue shirt with orange stripes on the shoulders facing the camera. He is looking toward his left shoulder, where a black lap puppy is being handed over to him. Another man is standing on the right side, half-way out of the picture, he is wearing a white tshirt.
Tammy hands FLD Ashley to his new raiser amidst a round of "awwwwws!" from the crowd.

A close shot of a man's head and shoulders facing the camera. He is wearing a white t-shrit and a woman with glasses is passing a small german shepherd puppy over his right shoulder. He is glancing at the puppy and smiling. He has a bald head and a short beard.
FLD Chewy meets his new raiser as Tammy passes him over the inmate's shoulder.

The two men are now holding thier respective puppies. The man on the left has the blue shirt and is holding a small black lab puppy and looking down at it; the man on the right in a white t-shirt is holding a german shepherd puppy, his arms are covered in tatoos. A short woman with short white hair and glasses is standing with her hand son her hips behind the two men. She is wearing a maroon fleece jacket with a blue hooded sweatshirt under it. On the floor behind her you can just see a goldern retriever lying on the floor looking at the camers. On the far right side in the background is a man sitting down, he is wearing a white t-shirt and blue pants.
Gentlemen, meet your puppies!

An african american man wearing a white t-shirt is on the left side looking at a black lab puppy being held by another man on the right side. Both men are smiling and looking at the puppy. The man on the left is holding the puppy's front paw with his right hand.
FLD Ashely's lead raiser introduces her to her assistant raiser.

A different african american man wearing a blue shirt with an orange stripe is on the left side looking at a german shepherd puppy that is being held by a man in a white t-shirt. Another man's arms are reaching in from the right side. The man on the left's two forearrms are covered in tattoos and he is petting the puppy's ears.
FLD Chewy's assistant raiser introduces the pup to FLD Sammy's raiser. Everyone wants to meet the new puppies.

A black and white close up shot of a small black Lab being held in a man's arms.
FLD Ashley gets the first of many snuggles.

A close up shot of a grerman shepherd puppy being held in the arms of a tattooed man. The man is wearing a white t-shirt and you can only see the bottom half of his face. His neck has tattoos also.
FLD Chewy in the arms of his inmate raiser.

A man dressed in a white t-shirt is holding a small black Lab puppy like a baby in his arms. The puppy is sleeping and the man is looking down at it with a smile.
FLD Copo snoozes in the arms of an inmate.


  1. Love the pictures Patti! These puppies bring so much joy and so many valuable life lesson!! Each time I chat with the other Puppy Raisers I learn something and I hope I offer them valuable training tips as well! Keep the stories coming!! I know I'm not the only one who enjoys them!

    1. Thanks, Kim! I appreciate the feedback and that you keep coming back. :)

  2. Oh! Wee puppies! Thanks for putting the descriptions into the photos. Helps us blind folk out. ;)