On September 26, 2018, Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp had 3 new arrivals. That's not normally significant as our inmate inventory, while constantly turning over, essentially stays the same. But this was different. These arrivals were brothers. They were also 8 weeks old Labrador/golden retriever cross puppies named Cabo, Chancey and Checkers. A fourth puppy will arrive in 3 weeks, a 7 week old lab/golden mix named Freddy.
I'll be 1 of 4 puppy trainers working with Canine Companions for Independence to prepare these new arrivals for a higher purpose. CCI instructors came to camp with the puppies to conduct a week of training and will return bi-weekly to monitor and provide additional instructions. I'm looking forward to this opportunity to raise and train a puppy who will hopefully one day serve as a companion to a deserving person. But training a puppy for that ultimate purpose has me justifiably anxious about getting it right.
I wonder if I'm up to this task. Certainly there are challenges to prison life. The main one is simply managing the boredom. That, for me, has involved reading, writing, meditation, and exercise. There is nothing wrong with any of those pursuits, as they're essential for healthy living in or out of prison. But these activities hardly provide an opportunity to focus externally on the service aspects of life which are also essential. This will be different. At the outset, this endeavor is far more challenging than rewarding. My hope is that over the next 16-18 months, it will become less daunting.
When I watched a short video of the August, 2018 CCI graduation seen here, any doubt about my involvement in this program evaporated. If you're like me, you might need a tissue.