Getting In The Dog Program

I was walking across the dayroom heading to the hotshot with a bowl of brown rice, trail mix, fish, diced apple, jalapeno peppers, and a sliced orange.

As I walked past the officers station I noticed that the H3 Dog Program Sergeant was here in the H6 Honor Unit.

But why?
Hmmm…I had a feeling.

I arrived at the hotshot and filled my bowl of goodness with the 180 degree water. My buddy comes up to me and says, “Look who’s here,” as he nods towards the Sergeant.

“I know. I saw her.” I reply.

Then he says, “You should go talk to her about getting into the Dog Program.”

I tell him, “Naw. I’m scared. Plus, I’ve already talked to her in the past. I’ve sent seceral kites. I’ve asked several staff members to put in a good word for me. She knows I want in.”

He says, ”Yeah, but now is another opportunity to express your interest face-to-face.”

I thought about it. He’s right. But I don’t do it. I don’t want to feel like I’m bugging her. I’ll just fall back and let nature take it’s course.

As I’m walking back to my cell with my food, I hear the Sergeant call out, “Jennings.”

I walk over to see her. She says, ”When you get a minute, I’m here to see you.”

My heart beats faster. I immediatly become conscious of the moment. IT’S HAPPENING! After 6 years 2 months…it’s happening. (Being Persistent Towards Goals)

I calmly reply, “Yes ma’am.”

Then I skip off to my cell humming the tune of “Koom-By-Yah.” Not really. But I felt like it!

I get in my cell and set my food on the desk. Then I look in the mirror and have a little chat with myself. I say, “This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. All your hard work and dedication to love is about to reward you with a significant blessing. You deserve this! Now go make it happen, boy!”

I walk outta my cell. The Sergeant is still talking with the unit officers. So I post up within her view and patiently wait.

After 6 of the longest minutes of my life, she looks directly at me and says, ”Are you ready?”

“Yes ma’am.”

We go into a small office and for the next 25 minutes she interviews me. I feel relaxed, confident, and comfortable.

After the interview she shakes my hand and says, ”Welcome to the program.”

The feeling was incredible. And the first person who I wanted to share this news with was my loving wife. So I immediately emailed Suzie, and I hugged her as I wrote.

* * * * *

The interview took place on a Wednesday. I moved to H3 two days later on Friday. (H3 is one of the Dog Program units)

My new celly is awesome. His name is Tony. He’s been down for 36 years. He’s been in the program for 3 years.

When I walk into my new cell, I’m impressed. The place is immaculate. Impeccably clean, tidy, and organized. Nothing is outta place. His shelves are neat and orderly. His bed is on point. His shoes are lined up perfectly. And all his clothes are either on hangers or folded and stacked in a way that resembles a Department store.

Tony must’ve been in the dayroom and seen me come in, because within seconds he’s standing by my side greeting me with a friendly handshake.

I complement him on the awesome cell and express my appreciation.

He says, ”Well hell yeah brother…is there any other way?”

Well yeah…actually there is. I tell him about Charlie and the first cell I moved into when I moved to the H6 Honor Unit. (Being Persistent Pays Off)

Tony and I spend the next few hours talking as I unpack my property and set up my area. When I’m done, Tony looks at it and says, “Damn! And I thought my OCD was bad.” 🙂

Needless to say, I am very happy and comfortable with my new living arrangement.

Tony and I should have our first dog together by January 20th. I’ve participated in a similar Dog Program in the past and absolutely loved it! I am very excited!

Until next time, live with love & compassion and watch your world transform for the better.


Steven Jennings

(picture from a previous program)

For more info on The Dog Program:

Orvis Magazine
Between The Lines
Freedom Tails
Brigadoon Service Dogs
SCCC Freedom Tail Program



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