March 30, 2015
Leader Dogs for the Blind's prison puppy-raising program at the Chippewa Correctional Facility has now been in operation for over a year and a half. The first puppies have returned to Leader dogs to meet their destiny. Like puppies that are raised on the outside, some of these inside puppies "graduated" and were placed with clients as working Leader Dogs, some found other jobs (one became a bed-bug detector!), others were "career-changed" for medical or other reasons (one was able to return to his raiser who is now on parole).
As we like to say, each dog ends up just where it needs to be.
The program has grown, and Tammy and I have not been visiting the prisons each month, so it is difficult for me to keep track of the teams. I remember when it was decided that the puppies raised in the Baraga Correctional Facility would be named "alphabetically." I wasn't sure what to think about that practice, as raisers in the Chippewa Correctional Facility were free to name their puppies however they chose.
Now I see that naming alphabetically can make it easier to remember exactly how many puppies have been raised.
Before we can do any training, Tammy presents FLD Rebel, the latest addition to Unit 8. If Chippewa had followed Baraga's method of naming, I could assume that Rebel is their 18th puppy. But they didn't so I don't know for sure - I think he might actually be their 23nd puppy!
At any number, the "hand off" is always fun...
|Rial (right), FLD Rebel's main raiser and his assistant, Pick (left) wait with their back turned toward the door as Tammy brings in FLD Rebel.|
|Following the tradition started in the Ford Dodge Correctional Facility in Iowa, Tammy hands FLD Rebel over the shoulder of his raiser.|
|Assistant raiser Pick meets FLD Rebel. Rial looks like a father counting the number of toes on his newborn.|
|The eyes have it! Rial and Rebel both look like they are not too sure of what they have gotten themselves into.|
|Pick shows off FLD Rebel to the others.|