Saturday, November 15, 2014

War to peace?

July 17, 2014

Two men, wearing blue prison uniforms (the man on the left is wearing a white t-shirt, are facing a gym wall. They are using a metal rolling ladder to tape posters on the wall.
D Lo and Eric tape thank-you posters to the gym wall.

Tammy and I came back to Chippewa in the morning. ARUS Rob took us, and some of the inmate raisers, to the gym where the activities would be taking place in the afternoon. While the guys taped thank-you posters on the wall and set up chairs, I test-played the video the men had asked me to make. (Check out my post about Puppy Days here to see the video:

The piercing puppy cry in the opening scene caught everyone's attention. The men paused in their preparations, the room stilled as Queen's song, "My Best Friend," echoed off the walls. I glanced around at the mens faces, hoping my video did the journey of the past year justice.

Moist eyes all around were all the affirmation I needed, but Doug noticed something in the video that I caught right away when I put it together. The faces of the men in photos from the beginning of the program were reserved, closed - quite opposite of their faces in later photos.

"Everyday we have to put on our hard faces," Doug said. He said that in prison you have to be ready to "go to war" everyday.

What softened their faces? Puppies!

Two men stand against a brick wall facing the camera, both are wearing the blue prison uniforms. The man on the left is holding a yellow lab puppy in his right arm with the leash hanging down. The puppy is wearing the blue Future Leader Dog bandana. The men have somber faces.
In the beginning. Dave and Eric pose with FLD August. Photo taken by Doug.

Two men are kneeling on one knee in front of a Leader Dogs for the Blind banner, looking at the camera. The men are wearing blue prison pants, the man on the left is wearing a white t-shirt and the man on the right is wearing a green sweatshirt. Between them is a young yellow lab that is sitting looking at the camera with a graduation cap on his head.
Later. Eric and Dave with FLD August - a STAR PUPPY!

Two  men stand in front of a brick wall, the african american man on the left is wearing blue prison pants and a white t-shirt, he is holding a small black lab puppy in his arms. The man on the right is wearing the blue prison uniforms. They have serious looks on their faces.
In the beginning. Ro and Abe pose with FLD Sammy. Photo taken by Doug.

A man dressed in the blue prison uniform is squatting on a tile floor, he is hugging a young yellow lab. The lab is wearing a blue Future Leader Dog jacket. In the background are two men and a woman and a golden retriever, on the right side are the legs of men standing in a line.
Later. Abe gives FLD Zella a big hug. Ro is in the background joking with visitor Kim (left) and Robert.

A bald man wearing a white t-shirt is smiling at the camera, he is holding a small yellow lab puppy in his left arm. The puppy is looking at the camera and is wearing a blue Future Leader Dog bandana.
Tim and FLD Adell. Doesn't his smile say it all?

1 comment:

  1. There it is there....the small change that moves someone from convict to human being. The common denominator of unconditional love from a dog that does not know what someone did to be in builds self efficacy, belief in the power to change, rebuilds connections, gives pride, shows the results of hard work, teaches how to communicate more effectively, teaches how to take care of something and how to give back to society. Amazing program.